Stanford breaks ties with controversial surgeons

The Associated Press
Friday December 21, 2001

STANFORD — Stanford University has stripped three prominent gynecologic surgeons of their honorary faculty status and removed them as directors of an on-campus surgical training center. 

The rebukes came after an outside panel of medical and legal experts unaffiliated with the university conducted a year-long review and determined some research conducted by Drs. Camran, Farr and Ceana Nezhat to be “deficient.” 

While the panel did not substantiate allegations of improper patient care, it found “seriously deficient scholarship” in a journal article published by the Nezhats in 1992, said Dr. Philip Pizzo, medical school dean. 

As a result, Stanford officials no longer will allow the brothers to teach medical students or residents, nor claim any Stanford affiliation in their Palo Alto practice, Pizzo said. However, the brothers still may perform surgery at Stanford’s hospital. 

The suspensions put the future of the Stanford Endoscopy Center for Training and Technology, which the Nezhats directed, under review, Pizzo said. 

For years, the three brothers have been at the center of an unusually contentious debate in national medical circles. Admirers call the Nezhats brilliant surgeons; detractors have accused them of performing unnecessary surgeries and concealing complications from those surgeries — allegations the Nezhats consistently have denied. 

In a statement released by his lawyer, Camran Nezhat said he and his brothers were “pleased” the panel’s findings did not find fault with their surgical practices. However, the brothers strongly disagree with their suspensions, he said. Nezhat said they plan to appeal, though Stanford officials say there is no mechanism for appeals because their previous designations were a “privilege, not a right.”