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December 27, 2018

This year's best (and worst) physicians, according to Medscape

Daily Briefing

     Medscape last week released its 2018 "Physicians of the Year" list, which names the "best" doctors of the past year, as well as the "worst."

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    This year's 'best' doctors

    Several prominent physicians and researchers who stood out as the "best" in their fields died last year, according to Medscape. As such, for the "best" list, Medscape honored several doctors who passed away in 2018, including:

    • Milton Edgerton, who while at Johns Hopkins, co-founded the first U.S. academic center for sex affirmation surgery and created the Division of Plastic Surgery;
    • Arti Hurria, a geriatric oncologist for the City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center, who was a "pioneer" in geriatric cancer care. She served as the George Tsai Family Chair in Geriatric Oncology and the director of the Center for Cancer and Aging at City of Hope; and
    • Nunilo Rubio, who was an endocrinologist and medical director of Presence Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center in Chicago for more than 25 years before he retired in 2015.

    Other clinicians who were honored on Medscape's "best" list include:

    • 17 former U.S. Army psychiatrists, who served in the Vietnam War, whom the American Psychiatric Association recognized not only for their service, but also for having "been ignored" and "even pilloried for their participation in the military effort," according to Medscape;
    • Mayo Clinic fellow Aditya Shah, retired nurse Anne Hanson, and emergency medical technician Blake Tyra, who were honored for stabilizing a passenger's condition during an in-flight emergency;
    • Physician and humanitarian Paul Farmer, who received the National Academy of Sciences' Public Welfare Medal—the academy's highest honor—for "pioneering enduring, community-based treatment strategies that demonstrate the delivery of high-quality health care in resource-poor settings in the [United States] and other countries";
    • Three oncologists—including Michael Mullen, former COO at AmerisourceBergen Corporation—who uncovered the drug company's illegal cancer drug scheme, which resulted in a $625 million False Claims Act settlement;
    • T. Michael Redmond, chief of the National Eye Institute Laboratory of Retinal Cell and Molecular Biology, who was honored with the 2018 António Champalimaud Vision Award for contributing to the development of a gene therapy for Leber congenital amaurosis—a disorder that blinds patients; and
    • Marshalyn Yeargin-Allsopp of CDC and Daniel Kastner of NIH, who were this year's winners of the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America medals for performing autism research that expanded services for children with special needs and disabilities, and for defining a new class of autoinflammatory diseases, respectively.

    The 'worst' doctors

    Meanwhile, Medscape's list of the "worst" doctors includes:

    • Syed Imran Ahmed, a surgeon who was sentenced by a federal court to 13 years in prison for Medicare fraud after stealing more than $7.2 million from Medicare by creating false claims for procedures he did not perform;
    • Piero Anversa, a cardiac stem cells doctor who's faced calls from Harvard University and Brigham & Women's Hospital to retract 31 of his papers;
    • Solomon Melgen, the Florida doctor whom prosecutors linked to Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) in an unsuccessful bribery case, was sentenced to 17 years in prison for an unrelated Medicare fraud case;
    • Gavin Awerbuch and Jerrold Rosenberg, doctors in Michigan and Rhode Island, respectively, who have been tied to a kickback scheme to prescribe Insys' opioid drug Subsys;
    • Donald Cline, a fertility doctor in Indiana who admitted to impregnating his patients with his own sperm using artificial insemination;
    • Windell Davis-Boutte, a dermatologist in Georgia who uploaded videos of herself rapping and dancing while performing surgery, and was sued by at least seven patients for negligence, claiming Davis-Boutte's procedures caused permanent damage;
    • Ronny Jackson, a former White House physician whom President Trump nominated to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs, who is now being investigated by the Department of Defense over allegations that he allowed the overprescribing of opioids during his time as White House physician;
    • Charles Raymond Leach, a Texas physician who reached a plea deal for contributing to a multi-million dollar hospice scheme through which Leach and other clinicians stole $60 million from Medicare and Medicaid by creating and distributing pre-signed prescription forms that were used to obtain controlled substances;
    • Larry Nassar, a former physician for Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics, who had his medical license permanently revoked by a Michigan regulatory agency after he pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting hundreds of patients; and
    • George Tyndall, a former gynecologist at the University of Southern California, who has been accused by more than 400 women of sexual abuse (Brooks, et al., Medscape, 12/19).
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