Review of medical misconduct charges

The Associated Press
Saturday November 04, 2000

STANFORD — Stanford Medical School is convening a panel to investigate allegations of medical and academic misconduct involving two doctors accused of performing unnecessary surgeries and concealing complications that arose from them. 

It is the first such review in the school’s history. 

Retired state Supreme Court Justice Edward Panelli, bioethicist Erich Loewy and Harvard Medical School instructor Mitchell Rabkin will examine the conduct of brothers Camran and Farr Nezhat, gynecologists who run the Stanford Endoscopy Center for Training and Technology and have been accused of research fraud. 

The brothers say the allegations against them are a “smear campaign” and that they look forward to clearing their names. 

“The inquiries ... are a tremendous step in an enduring smear campaign that has been smoldering since we were recruited to the faculty,” Camran Nezhat said in a statement. 

The panel will examine allegations that the Nezhats misdiagnosed the severity of cancer in one of their patients and then improperly referenced her case as a success story in a published research paper. 

In recently filed court documents related to a malpractice suit against the brothers, Farr Nezhat disclosed that two of the 16 patients he wrote about in a 1992 article did not undergo the procedure he described, but instead had a different surgery. 

Farr Nezhat said his errors in the journal Surgical Laparoscopy and Endoscopy were merely oversights and not meant to be misleading. 

“I did not supervise the collection and tabulation of data for the article as closely as I should have,” Farr Nezhat said an affidavit. 

The Nezhats came under fire for a series of bowel surgeries they performed on women in 1991 at Atlanta’s Northside Hospital. The women were being treated for endometriosis, a painful condition in which tissue from the uterine lining migrates to other organs. 

Stanford officials initially said they were not responsible for investigating the allegations, because the events occurred before the doctors joined Stanford. But Peter Gregory, chief medical officer of Stanford Medical Center, said the university changed its stance in the public’s interest. 

The panel not only will examine the Nezhats’ conduct, but also will assess the quality review process at the medical center’s obstetrics and gynecology department and the procedure of the hospital’s credentialing committee.