OUR LEGAL MEDICAL HORROR SHOW
“Being Told To Get Over It While the Murderers Go Free”
By: Mel Spiegel
The following continuation of my wife’s nightmare reinforces the need for THE FRAN SPIEGEL RIGHT TO KNOW ACT.
If THE FRAN SPIEGEL RIGHT TO KNOW ACT was the law, the new oncologist’s (Dr. Henry Shapiro) credentials would have been readily available for the referring hospital to see. I’m certain they would not have picked an oncologist who was not board certified.
My daughter Sarah and I were able to transfer Fran to MD Anderson in Texas. Everything immediately changed in Fran’s outlook and health. They trusted my word the original Florida surgeon (Bassam Sayegh) had lied about the time it took to realize Fran was internally bleeding. They found and began treating the damage that was done. Slowly her strength started to come back. I believe, in retrospect, I made a mistake in not explaining precisely what took place with the original slides. MD Anderson received what I am certain are slides that were tampered with and went along with the findings. This is most likely why they didn’t do a biopsy of their own. Even so, based on other tests they did and CT scans, they concluded Fran’s condition was not nearly as desperate as Sayegh and oncologist, Edit Tolnai had indicated. MD Anderson concluded the problem was treatable and Fran should have quality years to live. They also noted with the strides in cancer research, if it truly was cancer, Fran might still have a longer and fruitful life ahead of her.
The main oncologist at MD Anderson (Dr. Milind Javle) concluded Fran’s progress could allow her to come home and be treated by a local oncologist.
Javle assured me he would work very closely with the new Florida oncologist and gave me a complete report of Fran’s treatment at MD Anderson to be given to the new Florida oncologist. He said I should personally hand the report to the new oncologist as it contained vital information concerning Fran’s progress. He also had me make an appointment to come back to MD Anderson in three months for a reevaluation. This is where my wife’s chances for living took a horrible hit. The new oncologist (Henry Shapiro) was a man whose immediate demeanor belied a very self serving, egotistical, uncaring and incompetent person. Accusations that can and will be easily verified. He was fine as long as there were no major problems. He never returned the vitally important subsequent calls from MD Anderson, after supposedly calling just once (unsuccessfully). All indications point to the fact he never read the report or shared its contents with any of the other attending physicians. Because of this, he made a very wrong and fatal decision regarding my wife’s treatment. This was all due to his arrogance, incompetence and allegiance to the original surgeon and Jupiter Medical Center. He immediately set out to blame me and others for his life-threatening mistakes.
I will attempt to make all the willful and preventable actions of this egotistical, incompetent man clearer. When we first met Henry Shapiro, my wife had regained some of her strength. This was shortly after leaving MD Anderson. He couldn’t have been more cordial. Then I handed him the important papers that were given to me at MD Anderson. He glanced at the first page and then nonchalantly set them down saying "we wouldn’t be needing them anymore."
I assumed (at the time) he was in contact with the MD Anderson oncologist and had been told the problem wasn’t as bad as originally thought. Nothing could be further from the truth. Fran still was not close to full strength but Shapiro recklessly started her on chemo shortly after our initial meeting. We were still assuming he was corresponding with MD Anderson. About the third day of the chemo, Fran woke up and couldn’t get out of bed. She was feeling terrible and it took all of my energy just to get her to the bathroom. This was on a Monday and I immediately called Shapiro. The person who answered the phone put me on hold and said she would tell Shapiro of the problem. She came back and said Fran had an appointment for blood work on Thursday and I should do the best I could until then. Once more I deferred to the doctor, thinking this must be normal with chemo. Again, how wrong I was. Fran and I somehow made it to Thursday even though the ordeal she was going through was horrible. I had to take Fran in a wheelchair for the blood tests. Shapiro was nowhere around and after the blood tests they said we should go home and they would be in touch. Fran was being put through an ordeal I cannot describe. About two hours later, Shapiro calls and informs me Fran has a serious blood infection plus her blood pressure is critically low and I should take her to the hospital immediately. He then reads me the riot act for not calling him sooner(!) When I told him I DID and his aide said he told her I should wait the three days, he started yelling and asked who she was. It was from that moment on that Shapiro’s whole attitude changed and it became obvious he was on a mission to find any excuse not to be Fran’s doctor. My wife did not have a chance the way all the doctors, especially Shapiro, administered to her. I tried to tell the doctors, very respectfully, what Shapiro had done. I also reminded them again about the botched surgery, making it clear she had never fully recovered from that. They all reacted very negatively towards me and it was only later I learned they all had ties to the original surgeon (Bassam Sayegh) who lied. Also, my wife was supposed to be started on antibiotics the minute she was admitted to the hospital and it seems Shapiro did not even make this clear, or most likely never made the call. He arrived several hours later and I heard him asking one of the nurses why the antibiotics had not been started. It was almost four full days this very aggressive and deadly blood infection went untreated. During the next few days, Sarah and I were witnesses to numerous forgetful moments by Shapiro. All of them contributing to my wife’s further illness. Some of the nurses even shared with us the lack of concern and diligence on Shapiro’s part. He just did not seem to care. During this time, Sarah called the oncologist at MD Anderson to find out what he thought about all that was happening. It turns out Shapiro never once spoke to him. The MD Anderson oncologist said he called Shapiro several times and was never able to confer with him. Shapiro returned the first call and the MD Anderson oncologist was busy at the time and Shapiro never returned another call. To me, this was typical of Shapiro’s egotism and arrogance: ‘How dare you not drop whatever you are doing immediately and talk to me? You had your chance to confer with me and you blew it.’
Upon learning more of what Shapiro did regarding the recklessly rushed chemo, the MD Anderson oncologist informed us there were crucial, life-saving precautions Shapiro should have taken regarding Fran’s condition. He most certainly did not follow proper procedure. If he had kept in touch with the MD Anderson oncologist and read the report I had given him, Fran would unquestionably be alive today.
The next three weeks were a continuation of the same. I might have pursued a different course of action, but there always seemed to be one more doctor who kept reassuring me Fran was getting better. I also continued to tell them that Fran never fully recovered from the original botched surgery and that important treatment still continued to be neglected. I found out much too late, the doctors resented this and weren’t doing anything that might prove the original surgeon was lying. There is no doubt this had much to do with the continued failing health of my wife. Shapiro kept making his daily rounds and continued to say he was going to start new procedures, which he never did. He forgot or just neglected to schedule important procedures which we found out from the nurses. Then one day Shapiro comes to Fran’s room and proclaims the infection is “all cleared up and she can go home.” I was very skeptical and repeatedly questioned him in front of my wife and daughter. I said several times, I did not want Fran to go home if she was too weak, which was not hard to see. He assured us it was all right and this is where Shapiro proved what an absolute disgrace he is as a doctor and a human being.
The very next day, one of the Home Healthcare people (a registered nurse) saw how weak Fran was and said we should call Shapiro and get a few needed prescriptions. The person who answered the phone said Shapiro was not comfortable being Fran’s primary caregiver and doctor. She also mentions Fran is in “grave shape.” If this is true, why was she sent home??? Sarah said she would like to hear this from Shapiro. He called a few minutes later and that is when the truth about the lying, uncaring and malevolent nature of Shapiro appeared.
He takes on a very angry tone from the start and firmly informs Sarah that he never said Fran should have gone home – that “she should have gone to an assisted living facility or nursing home." (**FALSE – What Shapiro doesn’t know is the conversation was overheard by an unimpeachable source. It shows beyond any doubt how I repeatedly tell Shapiro, in precise terms, not to release my wife prematurely and he keeps saying she is fine and can go home the next day.) The fact we have this unimpeachable source is irrefutable proof how contemptible Shapiro is and how frightening that those “bought and paid for medical laws” make it difficult to remove a disgusting creature like Henry Shapiro.
When Sarah tells Shapiro this is completely false, he gets angrier and yells at her that he “does not want to be Fran’s oncologist anymore." Sarah says, “Fine, then who do you recommend?” Shapiro yells, “I don’t recommend anyone! I’m the best there is! I’ve been in this business for 35 years! Why don’t you go back to MD Anderson where they make you feel all warm and fuzzy?!” Then he unbelievably screams, “Sarah – you can get the best medical malpractice attorney there is – your mother is still going to DIE!!!” Sarah replies, “A lawsuit is the furthest thing from my mind, but the fact that you’re even thinking that way, speaks volumes about you and does nothing to help my poor mom!” Shapiro was unremorseful and proved himself to be a complete failure and disgrace to Fran and to the medical profession.