6 surgeons facing criminal charges for murder, healthcare fraud & drug distribution

Written by Mackenzie Garrity | May 14, 2018 | Print  |

Here are six spine surgeons who were sentenced, found guilty or have ongoing criminal charges.

Orthopedic surgeon charged with murder of Stryker sales rep in South Carolina
South Carolina-based orthopedic surgeon Adam Lazzarini, MD, has been charged with involuntary manslaughter and obstructing justice after a CrossLink Orthopaedics/Stryker sales representative died of a gunshot wound in Dr. Lazzarini's home in October 2017. Local law enforcement investigated the shooting and called it "unintentional or accidental" at the time, and Dr. Lazzarini turned himself in to the Lexington County Detention Center and is awaiting a bond hearing.

Former MSU dean Dr. William Strampel charged with criminal sexual conduct
Former East Lansing-based Michigan State University dean and Larry Nassar's boss William Strampel, DO, was arrested and charged with criminal sexual conduct. Dr. Strampel was arrested March 26 and charged with fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct, felony official misconduct and two counts of willful neglect of duty.

Dr. Gregory Belcher sentenced to 12-month prison term for healthcare fraud
Saratoga, Calif.-based orthopedic surgeon Gregory Belcher, MD, was sentenced to 12 months and a day in prison for making a false statement to a healthcare benefit program. Dr. Belcher was sentenced after an eight-week trial in which he and his wife and office partner, Vilasani Ganesh, MD, were convicted of healthcare fraud. Dr. Belcher submitted a false billing claim related to the physical therapy practice he conducted from the Saratoga offices of the Campbell Medical Group.

Larry Nassar, former USA Gymnastics physician, gets 40-175 years in prison
A seven-day hearing for former U.S.A. Gymnastics physician Larry Nassar ended with a prison sentence of 40 to 175 years. In September 2016, two former gymnasts told the IndyStar Mr. Nassar had sexually abused them during medical treatments. Since that explosive report, 150-plus young women have shared similar stories. In November 2017, the 54-year-old former physician pleaded guilty to seven criminal sexual conduct charges in Ingham County, Mich., CNN reports. After hearing testimonies from 156 victims who said they were sexually abused by Mr. Nassar, Judge Rosemarie Aquilina told him, "I just signed your death warrant," when reading his sentence.

Dr. Christopher Duntsch sentenced to life in prison for injuring his patients
Former neurosurgeon Christopher Duntsch, MD, PhD, was sentenced to life in prison for intentionally injuring his patients. Prosecutors claimed Dr. Duntsch maimed 32 patients in total, killing two and paralyzing two in the process. The jury deliberated for one hour before sentencing Dr. Duntsch to the maximum penalty after taking four hours last week to find him guilty of intentionally causing bodily harm.

Spine surgeon Dr. Johnny Benjamin found guilty, faces possibility of life in prison
A jury found Vero Beach, Fla., spine surgeon Johnny Benjamin, MD, guilty of five counts of felony. Dr. Benjamin was charged with illegal drug distribution. Investigators also charged the surgeon with providing a painkiller laced with fentanyl and caused the death of woman in 2016. The jury reached a verdict after the week-long trial. Dr. Benjamin will remain in federal custody until his July 6 sentencing hearing. He faces the possibility of life in prison.

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