Rape, fraud: Medical records show doctors behaving badly, breaking law

It all started with Joseph Reiner’s ears.

“My jaw started hurting, so I went over to the urgent clinic,” he said.

He says a physician assistant prescribed antibiotics and suggested ibuprofen.

“And I asked if there was anything else I could do and she said if I was open to homeopathic remedies. And I said, ‘What do you got? I’ll listen and then I’ll take it in.’ And she said, ‘The onion earmuff method,’” he said.

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“She described taking an onion, cutting it in half, soaking it in water, putting towels around, paper towels, putting it in the microwave for 10 seconds or something ... and then putting them on my ear.”

Go online and you’ll find some people swear by that approach for ear pain. Reiner may have been OK with it, too, but -- as a savvy patient and former police officer -- he wanted to know the science behind it.

“She said, ‘I don’t know, but it works for my children,’” he said.

And that’s what rubbed Reiner the wrong way. So he complained to the state medical board.

“So that they were aware and let them know that there’s a medical professional, trained medical professional, giving medical advice without knowing why or how that particular remedy works,” he explained.

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Most doctors do good work and are standup citizens. Onion earmuffs are one thing, but if you check medical board records -- like Action 9′s Jason Stoogenke did -- you’ll find much more alarming cases. Those include the following:

  • The board says a surgeon doing a gastric bypass failed to do a certain test and that the patient ultimately died.

  • Another doctor was convicted of rape.

  • An internist with an already long disciplinary record allegedly committed Medicaid fraud for five years.

  • A pediatrician was accused of giving another staff member un-dated pre-signed prescriptions to use.

  • A dermatologist allegedly bought items on Amazon and returned less expensive ones in their place -- some $300,000 less expensive. He pled guilty to mail fraud.

  • Records say a physician assistant admitted drinking alcohol before and after his shift -- even in the hospital parking lot.

  • A surgeon operating on a 19-year-old crash victim allegedly wanted to know if her breasts were natural or implants. While she was under, records say he and his assistant looked -- solely to answer the question.

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Of all those examples, only one doctor lost his (Yes, all these cases are men) license for good. The rest are still able to practice medicine.

Jean Fisher Brinkley runs the communications department for the medical board. She says the Board investigates every complaint and that it’s important for patients to look up their own doctors’ records.

“It’s better to know if there is adverse history so you have all the information and you can make your own decision about whether you’re comfortable,” she said.

Obviously, Joseph Reiner was not comfortable. He told Stoogenke he never did try the onion method, but that he did hear back from the board.

“They sent me a letter back saying that no action would be taken,” he said.

The bottom line is you have to be your own best advocate.

Here’s where you can research your North Carolina doctor.

Here’s where you can research your South Carolina doctor.

(WATCH BELOW: Colleague, former patient defend doctor indicted, accused of over-prescribing)