Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Carmel on the Case: Pain Doctors
Another South Florida pain clinic doctor is facing state discipline after being accused of malpractice. Investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero is On the Case.
WSVN -- It was July of 2008, when 7 News first saw Dr. Enoch Joseph at the South Florida Pain clinic.
The 68-year-old doctor is certified in obstetrics and gynecology. The clinic advertised pain management, among other treatments. At the time, it was operating off Oakland Park Boulevard in Wilton Manors.
When the clinic moved to Cypress Creek, Dr. Joseph moved with it. It was here, in October of 2008, that 7 News first documented the use of pain pills right in the parking lot. Addicts were so desperate, they crushed the pills, mixed them with water and injected them.
I tried to talk with the doctor about his expertise in treating pain problems.
Carmel Cafiero: "Are you certified in pain management? Are you concerned about the number of people who walk out of here with pills? Why do you think so many people are coming from out-of-state to see you here?"
He never said a word. Now, the state has accused him of malpractice in connection with the treatment of a patient identified only as J.D.
Carmel Cafiero: "Are you J.D.?"
J.D. is a recovering addict and has asked we not show his face or use his name. He was seen by Dr. Joseph at South Florida Pain's original location. He says he told the doctor his knee hurt.
J.D.: "He had me bend my knee, and I told him, 'Yeah, it hurts when I do that' and then I told him my shoulder hurt, so I said, 'It hurts when I go like this.'"
According to a state health department complaint, Dr. Joseph gave J.D. prescriptions for 210 tablets of Roxicodone and 60 tablets of Xanax, both controlled substances.
The state charges Dr. Joseph with inappropriately prescribed narcotics, failed to conduct laboratory or diagnostic testing and as a result, committed medical malpractice.
Tina Reed is J.D.'s mother.
Tina Reed: "He would be talking to you, and his eyes would be rolling back in his head, and he would just kind of nod out."
She complained to the state after discovering the pills Dr. Joseph had prescribed.
Tina Reed: "Hundreds of pills, and the bottles were empty."
The state medical board has offered to settle the case by suspending Dr. Joseph's license until an evaluation of his practice is completed and fine him $10,000. I couldn't reach him or his attorney to find out if the doctor plans to accept the offer.
J.D.: "It's just absolute evil. The pills are evil."
J.D. had to enter a drug treatment program to get off the pills. His mother thinks pain clinics and their doctors should have to pay for those programs.
Tina Reed: "They're making tons of money off this. A $10,000 or $20,000 fine is not sufficient."
Carmel Cafiero: "And while South Florida Pain isn't open any more, those in search of pills who show up here don't leave empty handed. A worker gives them a map like this, to their latest location in Boca Raton."
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