By: Bharani Padmanabhan – Sept. 2017
Ten years ago I raised concerns about substandard reports for brain MRI scans certified by Dr Carol Hulka and her colleagues at Cambridge Hospital (run by the powerful City of Cambridge). Patients with treatable diseases were left untreated!
After an especially inaccurate report issued to a patient from Bermuda, I protested to Dr Hulka and was suspended and perp-walked out soon after. I reported this to the HHS Inspector General as patient neglect and Medicare fraud.
Since then I have been blessed with patients who have stuck by me and experienced in person the travesty that is Charlie Baker’s State Medical Board. My patients recite verbatim the perjurious testimony of the board’s “expert” Dr. Barry Levin, a prop who testified inaccurately about my care.
Three of my patients (two men, one woman) were named by the board as examples of my “substandard” care. They testified in person that their care had never been better. What was the board’s response to their heartfelt testimony? Charlie’s board stooped to ask the lone woman if she had taken her clothes off for me at a McDonald’s across the street from her homeless shelter.
In May, Charlie’s board decided to indefinitely suspend my medical license. I received an official transcript from their deliberations. The board demanded that I must be forced to sign a false confession and asked their internal legal expert how to achieve that end. She took pains to repeat that they had never suspended a doctor’s license with such little “wrongdoing” and that she recommended an admonishment, meaning my patients would continue to receive care from their chosen doctor.
Instead, Charlie’s board threatened me with an indefinite suspension unless I agreed to plead guilty and 5 years probation (the highest level of punishment, other than revoking my license). I refused to plead guilty. They suspended my license.
What is most damning about that transcript is that there is not one word about my patients and what would happen to them if these corrupt officials suspended my license.
The state board exists to protect and care about patients. Instead Charlie’s board interfered with their right to receive care from a doctor of their choice in the absence of any public health justification. These were patients I provided good care to for 14 years. When my patients read that transcript they got so outraged they joined my federal petition to block the suspension.
As far as we can tell, this is the first federal case where patients and doctor are equal parties as co-plaintiffs against the state board.
Charlie’s board, of course, came to court and declared that the patients had no right to choose their doctor, and that there were plenty of other doctors to choose from. The board then did something truly despicable. It colluded with staff within the Boston DEA to target the patients who testified against the board. DEA agents went to the pharmacy of one of the patient-witnesses to physically obtain his prescription and appeared in the evening at the other patient’s home last week. They demanded that he turn over prescriptions written before my license was suspended. The patient told them to “screw” themselves.
The Boston DEA also sent four agents to my home to “persuade” me to “voluntarily surrender” my DEA license. One of the burly agents leaned on my sofa and threatened me with arrest. I told him he wasn’t the first to threaten me.
Another DEA agent revealed the strategy at hand when he angrily shouted: “You are at the mercy of the state medical board!” They left empty-handed, of course.
What the board is trying to achieve with the help of the DEA is alter (forge) the date on these written prescriptions so it can tell the judge that I am practicing without a license. They know that they have no case otherwise.
It is utterly despicable for Charlie’s board to engage in harassment against patients just because they testified against it.
Charlie Baker (this-well-loved-do-nothing-Governor who has achieved his level of public support because of complacency and parochialism in this state and the unwillingness of the local media to critique state politicians) has little real power given the veto-proof Democratic majority in both houses. Charlie’s sole power is to run executive agencies honestly. Despite this, he fails to ensure that his board acts to protect patients instead of harming them and to not persecute doctors who keep their oath to protect patients.
Charlie surely must now be putting unbearable pressure on the federal judge to throw my patients and me out on the street, just as his board did. Stay tuned!
Bharani Padmanabhan MD PhD is a neurologist specializing in multiple sclerosis in the Boston area whose medical license was illegally suspended in July just to force him to sign a false confession. email@example.com