Monday, December 26, 2005

More on Dr. Shanthaveerappa.....
UPDATE: Welcome, participants of the Skeptic's Circle Check out these other posts about Dr. Shanthaveerappa.

From the AJC:Cancer doctor loses his license
doctor charged with injecting cancer patients with weedkiller and defrauding insurance companies had his license suspended Friday morning.

People who say that Dr. Totada R. Shanthaveerappa saved their lives continued to rally to his defense Friday afternoon, even as two questionable patient deaths came to light.

The Georgia Medical Board of Examiners, after an emergency meeting, voted 9-0 to recommend the suspension of Shanthaveerappa's license. He was given notification of the suspension at his Stockbridge clinic, said Dr. Jim McNatt, the board's medical director.
Regardless of how one feels about Dr. Shanthaveerappa's treatments, what has brought this out was alleged insurance fraud:
An 87-count federal indictment accuses Shanthaveerappa, 70, also known as T.R. Shantha, of treating patients with drugs not authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, then falsely billing insurance companies by saying he had used approved drugs. The indictment says Shanthaveerappa used dinitrophenol, or DNP, a weedkiller and insecticide, and Ukrain, which is not approved for use in the United States.
And while Dr. Shanthaveerappa has his defenders, other allegations are beginning to surface:
Pierce's lawyer, Michael J. Hannan III, said Pierce, a musician and songwriter from Tennessee who sang and played in Juice Newton's band in the 1980s, was diagnosed with cancer in his tonsils in February 2004. The tumor was removed, and Pierce was told by his doctor to get chemotherapy and radiation treatment. But Pierce chose not to do so, because it could have ruined his voice.

Pierce sought out alternative therapies on the Internet and found Shanthaveerappa, who has several Web sites, including Wehealcancer.org. According to the lawsuit, Pierce went to Stockbridge and gave Shanthaveerappa a cashier's check for $40,000.

According to the suit, Pierce was placed into a heat chamber where his blood was to be heated to 106 degrees. "Mr. Pierce was advised that this would kill the cancer," the suit says. He was also given intravenous injections.

The suit gives this description of what happened next:

On April 18, 2004, after three weeks of therapy, Pierce had a high fever, uncontrollable shakes and severe abdominal pain. He called a nurse from Shanthaveerappa's office, who drove him to the Henry Medical Center. The nurse told Pierce not to tell hospital officials he was seeing Shanthaveerappa, because "they don't like him at this hospital." He was transferred to Emory Medical Center, where he was operated on.

"They found he had a raging infection in his abdomen," Hannan said in an interview Friday. Pierce also had aplastic anemia. Surgeons removed his colon, and he later received a colonostomy.

Hannan said Shanthaveerappa treated Pierce with low-dose chemotherapy, not enough to stop the cancer but enough to weaken his immune system and allow infection to spread.

"His immune system was completely compromised. Shantha's treatment gave him false hope. It didn't give him the chance conventional treatment would have."
.."they don't like him at this hospital".... I wonder why?
Back when Dr. Kevorkian first started making news I thought it odd that a pathologist would be offering such a "service". I would have thought that the "poster boy" for physician assisted suicide would have been a physician that had contact with live patients. From reviewing his CV Dr. Shantha appears to have no formal training in oncology. I wonder how many of his patients knew that?
According to an Atlanta news station Dr. Shantha will hold a press conference after his arraignment.
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