CINCINNATI – Mason spine surgeon Dr. Atiq Durrani had another surgeon operate in his name and instructed others to write Oxycodone prescriptions on scrips he pre-signed, according to a new federal grand jury indictment.
The new 36-count indictment also accuses Durrani of knowingly leaving a broken guidewire in a patient during surgery and failing to tell the patient.
Durrani is accused of making false diagnoses and performing or attempting unnecessary surgeries on 10 patients. The new indictment was filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Cincinnati.
Read the indictment below or at https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/805764-dr-atiq-durrani-federal-indictment-oct-16-2013.html
Durrani already faced federal health-care fraud charges for allegedly billing private and public health-care programs millions of dollars for fraudulent services.
He also faces more than 160 civil suits by patients who claim he performed unnecessary surgeries.
"Based upon the charges in the indictment, including the prescription issue, I would hope - and we've already sent it to them - that Ohio State and Kentucky Medical Board finally take this guy's license," said attorney Eric Deters, who represents the patients suing Durrani.
Durrani's criminal attorney, Glenn Whitaker, wouldn't comment on Deters' remark and said the new criminal indictment was not a surprise.
The new indictment alleges that:
> Durrani scheduled a patient for surgery on Sept. 22, 2010 but allowed another surgeon, who was not approved as a Medicare provider, to do it. Durrani was present only briefly. But the surgery was billed to Medicare and listed Durrani as the primary surgeon.
> Durrani pre-signed blank prescription pads and instructed others to write Oxycodone orders for 12 patients while he was out of the country in 2012 and 2013.
> After leaving a broken guidewire in a patient in 2009, Durrani failed to tell the patient during repeated office visits paid by a healthcare program. When the patient eventually confronted Durrani, the doctor denied leaving the guidewire in the patient. Durrani then recommended another surgery, paid by the healthcare program, and removed the guidewire without telling the patient.
Durrani pleaded not guilty Aug. 19 to the previous charges.
His criminal trial is scheduled for Jan. 13.
The first civil suit goes to trial on Jan. 6, Deters said.
The federal charges carry a potential prison sentence of up to 125 years. The indictment also seeks forfeiture of any proceeds Durrani received as a result of his alleged scheme, which the government says began in 2008.
The government alleges that:
> Durrani’s unnecessary surgeries resulted in serious bodily injury to some patients.
> Durrani would falsely say the patient was at risk of grave injuries without the surgery.
> Durrani often did not read or ignored X-rays that he ordered.
> Durrani would order a pain injection for a level of the spine that was inconsistent with the pain stated by the patient or the imaging.
> Durrani lied to colleagues and hospitals in order to further his scheme.
Durrani performed surgery at West Chester Hospital UC Health, Children's Hospital, Good Samaritan, Christ and Deaconess, but he no longer has privileges at any of those hospitals, the indictment says.
Durrani owns a private practice called the Centers for Advanced Spine Technologies (CAST) with offices in Mason and Florence and performs surgeries at JourneyLite in Evendale, where he is part owner.
The indictment says Durrani made false statements to hospitals as part of his application. He concealed peer review or disciplinary activity by other hospitals and malpractice actions that had been filed against him, it says.
It also says Durrani falsely told a patient that he could not operate on her at West Chester because her insurance could not be accepted there in order to conceal the fact his privileges were suspended.
Deters has sued Children's Hospital on behalf of more than 120 patients, claiming the hospital covered up Durrani’s “incompetence and negligence,” failed to report that he had been fired or resigned in lieu of firing, and paid for settling a lawsuit against him.
Deters’ suit says his clients had surgery from Durrani at West Chester or Journey Lite after Durrani had left Children’s in 2008. It alleges that Children’s withheld “truthful and accurate information” about Durrani and the plaintiffs never would have accepted Durrani’s treatment if they had known his history.