Nezhat Brothers Face Probe
Stanford University has convened an independent panel to investigate allegations of "medical and academic misconduct" against
Drs. Camran Nezhat and Farr Nezhat, gynecologists "widely admired in their field" for their innovations in gynecologic surgery and endometriosis treatment. Knight Ridder/Philadelphia Inquirer reports that the brothers face accusations of concealing surgical complications, performing unnecessary operations and "misrepresenting their work" in research papers. The three-member Stanford panel, including Edward Panelli, a retired California Supreme Court justice; Mitchell Rabkin, a Harvard Medical School professor; and Erich Loewy, a bioethicist at the University of California- Davis, will examine the allegations against the Nezhats and Stanford's handling of them. Peter Gregory, chief medical officer at Stanford Medical Center, said the panel is "completely independent" and that Stanford "will follow what they dictate, and we will implement what they recommend." The Nezhat controversy dates back to when they practiced in Georgia, where they faced a "long-running" malpractice suit by a patient who accused the brothers of "maim[ing] her by performing a needless, experimental surgery for endometriosis without her consent." That patient and her lawyers "contend" that the Nezhats concealed the risks of the procedure in a journal article they wrote about it. The Nezhats also face a complaint by a Stanford gynecology resident who was treated by the Nezhats and was later cited as a success story in the Nezhats' research paper. The resident said they "failed to recognize the severity of her cancer" in the paper. Camran Nezhat said in a statement released by his attorney that he welcomes the outside review. He said he is "sorry that Stanford has been forced to undergo this costly and lengthy process to uphold the integrity of its academic and clinical endeavors, but at the same time we look forward to clearing our names." With regard to the panel appointments, Gregory said that Stanford is "deeply dependent on the public's trust. We feel the need to take the extra step to reassure the public that we're doing the right thing" (Feder, Knight Ridder/Philadelphia Inquirer, 11/7).