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Surgery Center Administrator Caught Selling Stolen Medical Devices on eBay
Corey Hollmann STEEP DISCOUNT Corey Hollmann is accused of selling medical equipment worth thousands for $150.

The former head of a Florida outpatient surgery center stole and then tried to sell thousands of dollars worth of the facility's medical equipment on eBay, including monitors, imaging systems and skin-grafting instruments, say police.

Health First, the company that employed Corey Scott Hollmann, 44, to run Melbourne (Fla.) Same Day Surgery Center, informed police that numerous pieces of equipment it discovered were missing had been posted on an e-commerce site for sale.

Police set up a sting to buy a $2,500 dermatome Mr. Hollmann had posted on eBay for $149.99. Mr. Hollman left enough clues to sink a ship, according to the police affidavit.

The first giveaway was Mr. Hollman's eBay username "msds1035," which stood for Melbourne Same Day Surgery and its address 1035 South Appolo Blvd.

Police say "HRMC" was clearly displayed on the Zimmer Dermatome box &mash; as in, property of Holmes Regional Medical Center, a nearby facility that Health First also runs.

After communicating via text with Mr. Hollman to arrange the purchase, police say Mr. Hollmann handed over the dermatome to an undercover police detective in the surgery center parking lot in exchange for $150 cash. Other items police allege Mr. Hollmann listed on eBay included a Stryker WiSE Monitor Set and a Stryker SDC Ultra HD Information Image Management System Endoscopy 240050.

For his part, Mr. Hollman told police he was selling "expired" equipment in order to buy newer equipment — something he "did not believe he needed anyone's permission to do, even though Health First has their own disposal procedure of expired equipment," according to the affidavit.

Mr. Hollman is charged with grand theft and dealing in stolen property, both felonies. Mr. Hollmann did not respond to a request for comment.

Richard Abowitz

Are Older Surgeons Safer Surgeons?
Surgeon SHADES OF GRAY Experienced surgeons have what it takes to achieve better outcomes.

Wine, antiques, relationships and retirement funds get better with age. It might be time to add surgeons to the list, according to new research published in the British Medical Journal, which says older physicians have the skills and experience necessary to perform safer surgery.

Researchers who reviewed the outcomes of 892,187 patients operated on by 45,826 surgeons found the risk of dying within 30 days of surgery decreased when older surgeons operated: the mortality rate was 6.6% for surgeons younger than 40; 6.5% for surgeons in their 40s; 6.4% for surgeons in their 50s and 6.3% for surgeons 60 and older. There was no significant difference in mortality rates between male and female surgeons, although female surgeons in their 50s had the lowest mortality rates among the surgeons included in the study.

The link between mortality rates and a surgeon's age isn't causal and the exact reasons for the association are unknown, according to the study's authors. They did, however, offer potential explanations. First, surgeons could develop skills and knowledge over time that lead to better surgical outcomes. Second, recent restrictions on the number of hours surgical residents are allowed to work might impact the quality of their skills during the early part of their careers. Finally, older surgeons who continue to perform surgery late into their careers might be the highest skilled among their colleagues.

Despite the study's findings, Natalie Coburn, MD, cautions that it's extremely difficult to determine the quality of care surgeons provide. In an accompanying editorial, the associate professor of surgery at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center in Toronto, Canada, says surgeons who specialize in a specific type of surgery might achieve better outcomes than general surgeons who perform several different types of procedures. Dr. Coburn also says it's challenging to determine the true complexity of procedures that are performed.

"Sometimes surgeons who appear to have the worst outcomes are actually the best surgeons, they're just taking on the hardest cases," she says.

Still, the study's authors say increasing the training, education and supervision of younger surgeons might improve the outcomes of the surgeries they perform.

Daniel Cook

Doctor, 77, Wins $28 Million Age Discrimination Lawsuit Against Cleveland Clinic Foundation
Robert Katz AGE DISCRIMINATION A jury ruled the hospital violated anti-discrimination laws by asking Robert Katz, 77, to resign.

When Robert Katz, MD, noticed that the Cleveland Clinic was actively diverting ENT patients to younger doctors in 2015, he went to HR. After his complaint, he was pressured to retire because "he was not a fit" for the hospital, a lawsuit claims. Dr. Katz moved on to another ENT clinic in Northeast Ohio the following year but not before filing an age discrimination lawsuit.

Dr. Katz was recently awarded a $28 million settlement in a Cuyahoga County court after the jury found the Cleveland Clinic Foundation violated anti-retaliation and age discrimination laws. The clinic has 30 days to appeal the ruling. "Cleveland Clinic does not tolerate discrimination or retaliation. We are disappointed with the jury's verdict and will review the case to determine our next steps," a spokesperson for the clinic told Outpatient Surgery Magazine in an email.

The $26.4 million in punitive damages will have to be reduced since Ohio's tort laws cap punitive damages at twice the compensatory damages which were only $1.95 million. Lawyers for Dr. Katz told that the verdict was a victory saying in an emailed statement: "We hope that [the Cleveland Clinic Foundation] understands from the verdict that its behavior is intolerable."

Lawyers for Dr. Katz did not respond to requests for comment.

JoEllen McBride, PhD

InstaPoll: How Do You Handle Pregnancy Testing?

Do you let female patients sign a waiver absolving the center of any harm should they be pregnant rather than providing a urine sample for a pregnancy test? Tell us in this week's InstaPoll.

More than half (52%) of the 352 respondents to last week's poll don't disconnect sequential compression devices after surgery. The results:

When do you disconnect sequential compression devices?

  • As soon as the drapes come down 17%
  • After the patient is extubated 32%
  • We don't — SCDs remain active into PACU 51%

Dan O'Connor

News & Notes
  • Pain med shortageHydromorphone (dilaudid), fentanyl, morphine, bupivacaine, and epinephrine are the top 5 drugs in short supply to anesthesiologists, according to an informal survey released by the American Society of Anesthesiologists to its members. Of the 2,500 respondents, 98% are consistently experiencing shortages of necessary medications and 95% noted that the shortages are affecting the way they care for patients. Anesthesiologists noted that having to use slower-acting pain medications instead of their go-to drugs means patients are waiting longer than expected for pain relief.
  • Did ASC deny staff meal and rest breaks?Around 30 current and former employees of Sutter Health's Sacramento surgery center claim they were denied legally required rest breaks and meal breaks. The employees are going before the California Labor Commissioner seeking compensation ranging from thousands of dollars to tens of thousands of dollars, according to the Sacramento Bee. In a statement denying the claims, Sutter Health argues that the "employees have been paid appropriately."
  • Opioids overused after orthopedic surgery Only 6% of 140 patients who underwent spine or joint procedures at Johns Hopkins Hospital took non-opioid medications such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen to manage post-op pain, says a study published in Anesthesia and Analgesia. A majority of the patients did not use the entire prescribed amount of opioids and most patients did not store the leftover pills safely or dispose of them properly, according to the researchers.