An interesting article came across our desk this past week. By “interesting”, we mean alarming – downright shocking, in fact. The Allegiant Experts team (and therefore our blog) has always placed a close eye on the various instances of health insurance fraud and medical misconduct taking place throughout our nation. We regularly pinpoint stories when perpetrators have been brought to justice. Dr. James McGuckin, however, is still "at large".
McGuckin is a Pennsylvania-based vascular surgeon.
As Annie Waldman reports for ProPublica, McGuckin has been investigated by agencies at every level. We’re talking state medical boards, the Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Justice. The 61 year-old has been regularly accused of conducting experimental or unnecessary procedures on patients, putting their lives and limbs at risk.
“He’d been disciplined by medical boards in over a dozen states, lost privileges in multiple hospitals and settled federal allegations of fraud, admitting that his company had performed procedures without any documented need,” reports Waldman, “Pennsylvania had tried to shut his clinics down.”
Federal attorneys accuse McGuckin of putting “profits over the health and safety of his patients”.
The physician is alleged to have performed many invasive artery procedures, regardless of symptoms or need. Nevertheless, despite widespread scrutiny from regulators, the doctor is still seeing patients today. Numerous patients have complained of complications after McGuckin performed his invasive vascular procedures. Two lost their legs and many of them nearly lost their lives.
69 year-old Maria Rohena considers herself one of McGuckin’s victims. In July of 2021, she had to have her leg amputated just five days after a procedure in McGuckin’s clinic. The doctor’s attorney, David Helm, of course, heralds his client as a great practitioner. He describes McGuckin as a “very good, skilled surgeon who has helped thousands of patients.”
McGuckin completed his medical degree in 1987.
He opened his first private practice office in 2002, going on to open a chain of facilities known as Vascular Access Centers. However, questions of his accountability and ability to provide appropriate care came up from many of his patients. Around 2010, reports Waldman, McGuckin started offering a controversial procedure. It was an invasive, experimental treatment for multiple sclerosis.
The surgery involved deploying balloons and stents in veins across the body to improve blood flow. However, it lacked substantial evidence that it improved patient symptoms. As a result, the procedure was rejected by the medical establishment. As well, the use of devices for the treatment was unapproved by the FDA.
McGuckin became a “leading evangelist for the treatment.”
As Waldman reports, he conducted “hundreds of the risky procedures on patients, including a South Carolina woman who, in May 2012, nearly died after a stent dislodged and traveled to her heart. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, which wrote about the case, reported that the patient sued McGuckin in 2015 and the case was confidentially resolved two years later.”
In July 2012, FDA inspectors cited McGuckin for multiple violations. “They included enrolling patients in unapproved clinical research; failing to screen for abnormal kidney function, which could have subjected patients to renal failure; and not reporting serious adverse events,” Waldman reveals, “Despite evidence that such treatments put patients in grave danger, none of the medical boards in the more than a dozen states in which he was licensed to practice took action for more than a year. Some boards took four years.”
For the entire story, read Waldman’s full article HERE.
Are you an attorney trying a medical misconduct case?
Please don’t hesitate to contact the clinical experts at Allegiant Experts to find out how we may be able to help you. Call us at 407-217-5831 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.