A surgeon practicing in Albany, New York’s Stratton VA Medical Center misrepresented the outcomes of cancer surgeries to at least three patients.

The OIG conducted a review, particularly surrounding a procedure called radiofrequency ablation. In this procedure, electromagnetic energy is pulsed into tumorous masses through a needle. The heat energy then destroys the tumor.

At least, the energy destroys the tumor, in theory.

The OIG report found that for two patients, men with cirrhosis of the liver, the surgeon (who has not been formally identified) was unable to remove their tumors with this procedure.

But instead of representing those results honestly, the surgeon reported that any tumors still to be found in their livers were “residual,” i.e. left over, or “recurrent,” i.e. grown back.

Essentially, the surgeon made it sound like the procedures had gone successfully the first time, when they verifiably had not.

As the report states, “Accurate information was necessary for [the patients] to have a full understanding of the actual outcomes, ongoing risks, and benefits, and the option to select another provider or facility for cancer care.”

The unfortunate patients were referred to a different radiologist, who was able to remove their tumors successfully.

The OIG’s report shows that the surgeon who falsified their results also lacked sufficient documentation showing their competence to perform this procedure in the first place.

The Albany VA as a whole was strongly recommended changes to their credentialing program, as well as peer review and professional practice evaluations. Apparently, Stratton VA is implementing many of these changes already.

The surgeon, however, has apparently not even been disciplined… for not doing their ONLY JOB. Whose call was that?

The establishment’s director Darlene Delancey claims the cases were referred to an ethics consulting team for review, but deemed “out of their scope.” On what grounds is lying about the results of your patient’s botched surgery NOT within the scope OF AN ETHICS COMMITTEE?!

She writes, “The conclusion was there is no evidence of intentional or negligent misrepresentation of the clinical condition to the patients, and no basis for further ethical or disciplinary referral.”

And I would like to take a minute to call absolute hellfire down on such a bald-faced, glib declaration.

  1. A) The OIG found the data. This miscommunication, whether intended or not, definitely happened.
  2. B) If it was not intentional, then it was, by definition, negligent. This director is essentially claiming that this incident did not happen on purpose, and it also did not happen by accident. Which is patently ridiculous and stupid.

Between “intentional” and “negligent,” this surgeon’s falsified results must be one or the other. They either lied, or they are incompetent. Unless you live in a world of “alternative facts,” they cannot possibly be neither.

Most of you have heard of Occam’s Razor, where the simplest explanation is the best. There is also a Heinlein’s Razor. Named for author Robert Heinlein and often erroneously referred to as Hanlon’s Razor, it states the following:

“Never assume malice when incompetence is a feasible explanation.”

Conversely, in a high-stakes profession such as medicine, there comes a point where ignorance and malice are indistinguishable. Practicing medicine with a clear conscience requires knowledge of proper procedure.

If you are a doctor, and you are aware that your technique is subpar (which you have to be in order to lie about it), it is malicious to continue practicing medicine. You have willfully put your patients in danger by refusing to fix your mistakes.

So no, Ms. Delancey, I do not accept your decision. The ethics committee is not doing its job, partly because you have told it not to do so. Perhaps you have not heard, but being a doctor is kind of an important job that people have to do correctly.

At least hold doctors accountable when they make mistakes of this magnitude. Heck, a pizza deliveryman catches more flak for losing a box of buffalo wings than this doctor is catching for losing a tumor. Have you no shame?

Discipline. This. Wayward. Employee.

Source: https://www.timesunion.com/news/article/Report-Albany-VA-surgeon-misrepresented-surgery-13204271.php

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sunvale
sunvale

Who watching the VA surgeons?

Dwight Waller
Dwight Waller

after 43 years I finally received my health records and no one is accountable for my lost claim but me and God we did not strike any VA personal with lighting or morals Now I live with a wife of 39 years with stage 4 Canner and I have 3 service connected disabilities living off a small retirement check and 10% (130? something) from Veterans and too much to get welfare care or food medical care for fear of the VA system what a dam shame of this nation ….

Seymore Klearly
Seymore Klearly

Stratton VA Medical Center? Isn’t that the VAMC that hired a 61-year-old psychiatrist who specializes in addiction recovery? The Very Same psychiatrist that was arrested in July for trading prescriptions for sex with some of the addicts he was suppose to be treating?

Yep it is!!

___________

“Capital Region doctor accused of unlawfully distributing controlled substances”
by Emily DeFeciani, Thursday, July 19th 2018

“On the organization’s website, Morris’ bio reads that he previously served at the Stratton VA Medical Center, Samaritan Hospital in Troy, and Four Winds in Saratoga.

The 61-year-old psychiatrist specializes in addiction recovery.

According to a criminal complaint, Morris dispensed Xanax, Adderall, and Suboxone to at least one patient in exchange for sex.”

“Morris is also accused of writing prescriptions for people he never treated.”

Full Article At: “https://cbs6albany.com/news/local/clifton-park-doctor-accused-of-exchanging-medication-for-sex”

Dennis P
Dennis P

This is the reason I’m scared to death to let the VA do anything on me!

Seymore Klearly
Seymore Klearly

Wait a minute, Stratton VA Medical Center added another bullshitting, homicidal, cancer doc to it’s list of employees!!

Two prior bullshitting, homicidal, cancer doc from Stratton VA Medical Center are Dr. James Holland and Paul Kornak. Dr. Holland was head of the Oncology Department and Dr. Paul Kornak was the Research Coordinator for all research studies at the VAMC.

On average they collected $5,000 per Veteran they could sign up for research studies completed at the Stratton VAMC via payments to their non-profit named the Stratton VA Medical Center research foundation.

They knowingly assigned Veterans to research studies even though they knew the Veterans would die as a result of the research. An investigation by the IG found that over 70% of the Veterans involved in the research were not informed and not eligible to participate in the research due to the high expectation of serious harm to the Veterans.

Numerous whistle Blowers who reported the high number of deaths were fired prior to the investigation. As a result, they were investigated by the FBIs White collar crime division and after a grand jury issued a 48-count indictment they plead guilty to 3 charges and only received 7- year sentences.

With more than 100 deaths connected to their cancer research, for personal profit, and they only receiving a 7 year sentence for the serial killing of more than 100 Veterans. Guess the VA, FBI, and the DOJ felt prosecuting serial killers for murdering Veterans would end up costing the VA some major bucks for the murders. So Robert Mueller, James Comey, and Rod Rosenstein and company decided not to prosecute and same Uncle Sammy some bucks preventing the wrongful deaths suits that would have been filed.

For more on the prior bullshitting, homicidal, cancer doc from Stratton VA Medical Center:

“Abuses Endangered Veterans in Cancer Drug Experiments”
By DEBORAH SONTAG, New York Times, FEB. 6, 2005
“http://www.nytimes.com/2005/02/06/nyregion/abuses-endangered-veterans-in-cancer-drug-experiments.html”

Blowing the Whistle: A Pharmacist’s Vexing Experience Unraveled
Jeffrey Fudin
Disclosures |Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2006;63(22):2262-2265.
“https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/548036”

Lyons, B. J. (2007, Dec 09). Court papers detail dark chapter at VA. Times Union
“The federal court documents, which include confidential investigative reports never made public, indicate that about 70 percent of Stratton’s former cancer research patients were victimized in the scandal” “At a hearing scheduled for Monday, the government’s attorneys are expected to argue for a dismissal of the class action lawsuit on the grounds there is no proof the experimental drugs caused more than one death.”

___________________

For the VA it was a Win/Win situation. Not only did some of their doctors make out as Murdering Serial Killers but the VA got to get ride of Some Veterans who they had to pay Disability Payments.

Seymore Klearly
Seymore Klearly

Oh and just to be clear that it is strait out murder we are talking about here.

The DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Office of the Secretary Debarment ACTION: Notice. Case Summary: Kornak, Paul H.
At: “https://ori.hhs.gov/case-summary-kornak-paul-h”

“SUMMARY: Notice is hereby given that the Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Acquisition Management and Policy of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has taken final agency action in the following case:

Paul H. Kornak, Stratton VA Medical Center, Albany, New York: Upon recommendations from the Office of Research Integrity (ORI), Acting Assistant Secretary for Health for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Office of Research Oversight (ORO), and the Under Secretary for Health, Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), that were based on the criminal convictions of making and using a materially false statement, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1001(a)(3); mail fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1341 and 1346; and criminally negligent homicide, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 13 and New York Penal Law Sec. 125.10, the HHS debarring official has permanently debarred Mr. Paul Kornak, former research coordinator at the Stratton VA Medical Center. This action is taken pursuant to the HHS government-wide nonprocurement debarment and suspension regulation at 45 CFR part 76. As such, Mr. Kornak is excluded for life from participating in any and all Federal agency transactions, both procurement and nonprocurement, as set forth in part 76.

Of the 48 criminal charges contained in his Indictment, Paul Kornak pled guilty to the three criminal charges listed above. See United States of America v. Paul H. Kornak, Criminal Action No. 03-CR-436 (FJS), U.S. District Court (N.D.N.Y.) (January 18, 2005). In addition to the 71-month term of imprisonment imposed, Mr. Kornak was directed to pay restitution to two pharmaceutical companies and the VA in the amount of approximately $639,000.

As part of his guilty plea, Mr. Kornak admitted to the following facts:

In August 2000, Mr. Kornak applied for employment to the VA, submitting a false “Declaration for Federal Employment” form. Mr. Kornak denied that he had been convicted or on probation in the preceding 10 years, whereas in fact, he had been convicted of mail fraud in 1992 and placed on probation for 3 years.

By October of 2000, Mr. Kornak was responsible for organizing, coordinating, implementing, and directing all research elements in the Stratton VA Medical Center oncology research program. Specifically, Mr. Kornak was the site coordinator at the Stratton VA Medical Center for the “Iron (Fe) and Atherosclerosis Study” (FeAST), cancer studies known as Tax 325 and Tax 327, and a bladder cancer study. The FeAST study was a clinical trial that tested a novel procedure for controlling atherosclerosis, also known as hardening of the arteries, by reducing the iron in the body through blood drawing. The Tax 325 cancer treatment study involved the administration of pharmaceutical products to patients with metastatic or locally recurrent gastric cancer previously untreated with chemotherapy for advanced disease. The Tax 327 study involved the administration of pharmaceutical products to patients with metastatic hormone refractory prostate cancer. The purpose of the bladder cancer study, which was co- sponsored by the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, was to compare the use of difluoromethylornithine (DFMO) to the use of a placebo in patients with low grade superficial bladder cancer according to time to first recurrence of the tumor and toxicities.

From May 14, 1999, to July 10, 2002, in connection with the above protocols, Mr. Kornak participated in a scheme to defraud the sponsors of the clinical studies in that “he would and repeatedly did submit false documentation regarding patients and study subjects and enroll and cause to be enrolled persons as study subjects who did not qualify under the particular study protocol.”

Mr. Kornak caused the death of a study subject when he “failed to perceive a substantial and unjustifiable risk that death would occur when he knowingly and willfully made and used documents falsely stating and representing the results of [the study subject’s] blood chemistry analysis, which false documents purported that [the study subject] met the inclusion and exclusion criteria for participation in Tax 325 when the actual results did not meet the inclusion and exclusion criteria and showed impaired kidney and liver function, and [the study subject] thus was administered the chemotherapeutic drugs docetaxel, cisplatin, and 5-FU in connection with Tax 325 on or about May 31, 2001, and died as a result thereof on or about June 11, 2001.”

Based on the criminal conviction and the facts admitted to above, HHS and VA believe that a debarment period longer than the standard length of debarment is warranted in this case. Mr. Kornak admitted to a dishonest handling of the research records and demonstrated a complete disregard for the well-being of vulnerable human subjects under his care. In pleading guilty to criminally negligent homicide, Mr. Kornak admitted that a reasonable person would have perceived a substantial and unjustifiable risk of death if an ineligible subject were enrolled in the cancer study in question and that his failure to perceive such a risk in enrolling the ineligible subject constituted a gross deviation from the standard of care.

Moreover, a longer debarment period is warranted in this case because of an established pattern of misconduct and criminal behavior on the part of Mr. Kornak. As stated above, Mr. Kornak has a prior conviction of mail fraud. In addition, the Office of Personnel Management excluded Mr. Kornak from all Federal nonprocurement transactions for an indefinite period, effective July 22, 1993. Nonetheless, beginning in 1999, Mr. Kornak actively participated in federally sponsored research protocols in violation of the imposed exclusion.

A lifetime debarment of Mr. Kornak is necessary to protect the public interest overall. Given the scope of his criminal conviction, his longstanding pattern of criminal behavior, and his total disregard for the safety and well-being of human subjects, Mr. Kornak’s responsibility to engage in transactions with the Federal Government cannot be assured at any time in the future.

Seymore Klearly
Seymore Klearly

Really recommend reading the Times article cited above at:

“http://www.nytimes.com/2005/02/06/nyregion/abuses-endangered-veterans-in-cancer-drug-experiments.html”

Here are a few paragraphs quoted from the article.

“”Research violations were a way of life at Stratton for 10 years,” said Jeffrey Fudin, a pharmacist at the hospital. “Stratton officials turned a blind eye to unethical cancer research practices and punished those who spoke out against them. The whole Kornak episode could have been prevented.”

__________

“By 1993, Mr. Kornak had obtained and lost medical licenses in several states by forging his credentials and had pleaded guilty in Pennsylvania to felony fraud charges. The Albany hospital hired Mr. Kornak, who did attend some medical school, as a research coordinator, not as a physician. Nonetheless, he performed physical examinations, and his Veterans Affairs business card identified him as an M.D.”

___

“Convicted, Then Hired

In 1993 in Harrisburg, Pa., Judge William W. Caldwell of United States District Court sentenced Mr. Kornak to a $2,500 fine and three years of probation for forging his credentials to obtain a medical license. Apparently, Mr. Kornak’s history of fraud began with the falsification of a college transcript, and lie followed lie until he lost a medical license in Iowa, was denied one in New Jersey and was arrested in Pennsylvania.”

_________

“”There is always a hidden agenda either to exonerate or convict in these internal investigations,” said Dr. Ferro, who is now at the Veterans Affairs hospital in Richmond. “In this case it was to exonerate. I was buddies with the doctor I was deputized to investigate.”

Seymore Klearly
Seymore Klearly

“Dr. Ferro said he also found “creative science” in the use of “alternative chemotherapeutic regimens.” He said he was convinced that the oncologist was genuinely trying to help patients survive longer. “But,” Dr. Ferro said, “it didn’t strike me as prudent to be using alternative regimens when there was no clear-cut evidence they were helpful and the possibility that they might be harmful.”

Dr. Ferro said he “watered down” his findings in his final report, stating that no major violations were found, but that “minor discrepancies” were. His superiors, however, did not like any mention of problems, and they whited out “minor discrepancies” and other negative phrases, Dr. Ferro said.

They asked Dr. Ferro to initial the deletions, and he protested, but eventually did so, he said, “so as not to be a troublemaker.””

Crazy elf
Crazy elf

Just another day at the VA to protect SERIAL KILLERS!

Ronald Chestnut
Ronald Chestnut

Nothing is ever done to physicians when they have done wrong to a patient. VA just gave physician a 40,000 bonus because so many are walking off the job. VA don’t give a dame if they kill off all the Veterans because more will come. Please give private health care and stay away from VA none provider. The good ones that are left panel are so full they can’t take any new patients. VA are using PA,NP to make decision that a MD should make. This is a dame shame.

Flotmorton P. Gildersleeve
Flotmorton P. Gildersleeve

You are so right about Nurse Practioners & Physicians’ Assistants, (PAs) making making most medical care at the VA. The Deep Swamp is most evident in the VA and anyone who submits to the care there is a fool, myself included. We must unite and form an army of Attorneys to strike whenever we see a Veteran who has not been treated fairly. As well, we must expose these criminals and run them out of town, and “de-license” them.

GulfVet
GulfVet

Shut it down already! WTF!!!

r
r

The “The thin white line.” Wonder who crossed it and gave up the Dr.? Still not being held accountable either? Wonder which VAMC they’re going to ship him off to now…

Seymore Klearly
Seymore Klearly

Don’t you just love how they hide the doctors name in the Report to protect him. That way they no longer have to move him or her to a new facility and can just let them continue at Stratton.

It is clear that the only reason why the VAOIG did the report was to hide the facts and to cover up much worse that is currently going on at the VAMC.

Fucking total pieces of shit working for the VAOIG protecting murders.

Polly Murphy
Polly Murphy

Was the radiologist on staff at this VAMC on contract through one of the medical school contracts? Any staff physician at any VAMC, or any resident/fellow/part time physician working at any VAMC through contract with medical schools should be required to have private malpractice insurance just as any private doctor. If malpractice insurance is required across the board some of this craziness would stop. If a physician is not insurable for private malpractice insurance, then heads up, this should be a no hire for VAMC.

norman rosencrans
norman rosencrans

lets face it fellows they do not nor have they ever cared about vets and they never will no mater what they are waiting for us to die , I would not spit on them if they were on fire

js
js

Even if they did say he violated ethics rules, it dont matter.

They just ship his butt to a different state, a new VAMC, and its business as usual.

Who is the joke on here?

Seymore Klearly
Seymore Klearly

js

Doesn’t look like they will ship him, or her, to a new state. That is why the VAOIG is hiding the surgeons name. So they can continue on as though nothing has happened. After all the VAOIG only investigated after an outside investigation proved it was happening.

The VAOIG report is only to cover-up how bad the problems at Stratton are. Their investigation also allows them the chance to fire any one who might reveal just how bad the problems are.

Seymore Klearly
Seymore Klearly

Remember also that the Falsified Patient Outcomes did result in patients having their cancer progress and as usual that means to a terminal state. So, patients did die because of the Falsified Patient Outcomes.

Also note that the VAOIG very strictly limited the investigation. Instead of investigating all recent care by individuals in the Oncology Department. Also they failed to mention that the Dr. was also a researcher collecting money for those Fraudulently Falsified Patient Outcomes.

Stratton VAMC has a long history of murdering Veterans under the guise of research. Clearly they have been murdering Veterans with cancer since the creation of the Oncology Department. Also note that they used veterans in cancer research even when the Veteran did not have cancer.

namnibor
namnibor

Suck my diarrhea-plagued ass, VA and also fuck-off.