The Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Office of Inspector General (OIG) recently investigated a New York Veterans Affairs’ hospital. The agency’s investigation was prompted by allegations a surgeon employed at the hospital misreported surgical outcomes of cancer patients.
The government alleges the physician failed to properly perform an intraoperative radiofrequency ablation used for hepatocellular carcinoma. Physicians can use this procedure to remove cancerous tumors. The agency has accused the physician of failing to remove the tumor and failing to accurately report the results to patients. When questioned by patients about the presence of the tumor after the procedure was complete, the physician allegedly stated there was a recurrence.
The agency has also accused the physician of performing procedures on patients that did not have cancer and other adverse events after the completion of cancer surgeries.
At this time, it does not appear the physician will face any ethical or disciplinary referral. The patients impacted by the procedures had the tumors removed by another medical professional. The government has encouraged the hospital that employs the physician to review its credentialing process as the physician in question did not appear to be fulling cleared to perform the ablation procedure.
Such allegations can lead to additional investigations. Physicians in this situation could become the subject of an investigation by the Office of Professional Misconduct (OPMC) and find their medical license in jeopardy. It is important to take such allegations of misconduct seriously. An attorney experienced in the protection of a medical license can help. This legal professional will build a defense to the allegations and better ensure the protection of professional reputation and livelihood.