Pakistani Hospital Suspends Spine Fugitive Durrani
Walter Eisner • Fri, December 29th, 2017
The Pakistan Medical & Dental Council (Council) has initiated action against Atiq Durrani, M.D., the Pakistani spine surgeon facing allegations of medical malpractice and False Claims in Ohio in the U.S.
In response, the hospital where the fugitive surgeon had been operating, suspended his privileges.
On December 21, 2017, DAWN, Pakistan's oldest and most widely read English language newspaper, reported that Durrani's case came to the attention of the Council after the Council found out that Durrani had started to practice at an elite hospital situated along the Lahore Canal near Johar Town.
The newspaper reported that the Council was informed that plaintiffs in the U.S. alleged that Durrani "deceived and defrauded patients by performing or authorizing hundreds of spinal surgeries he knew to be unnecessary."
The Council was told by U.S. authorities that while in Ohio, Durrani billed Medicare over $11 million in less than three years, that amounted to about $300,000 per month, making him the biggest orthopedic Medicare biller in the state.
In addition to the federal charges, Durrani is also being sued by more than 500 former patients.
Given the charges against him in the U.S., the Council called a meeting of its disciplinary committee on October 23, 2017. They sent Durrani an official request for a detailed reply to the U.S. allegations.
Durrani apparently did not reply, so the Council continued to send him reminders asking him to either appear before the committee or submit a detailed reply in his defense. The action to initiate action to remove him from the registered medical practitioners' list permanently comes under the Council's Ordinance 1962.
Due to Durrani's failure to submit a reply, the Council issued Durrani the last written warning on December 14, 2017 and began to initiate the process of deregistration.
Fugitive From U.S. Charges
Durrani was arrested in Ohio in 2013 after being indicted on 46 federal charges, including performing unnecessary surgeries. Other allegations claimed that Durrani had another surgeon operate in his name, allowed other employees to write Oxycodone prescriptions on orders he pre-signed, knowingly left a guide wire inside a patient during surgery without giving them notice, and billing private and public healthcare benefits programs for fraudulent services.
After being ordered to turn in his passport and post bond, Durrani asked for permission to visit his ailing father in Pakistan. Permission was denied. But then before his trial scheduled for January 2014, he disappeared. U.S. authorities feared he went on the lam in Pakistan. Everybody wanted to know — “Where’s Durrani?”
In June 2015, we reported that we found him. In Lahore, Pakistan, where he had set up his own spine surgery clinic and joined the hospital staff of Doctors Hospital and Medical Centre.
We repeatedly asked the hospital for comment about the allegations against Durrani that he had started a high-profile practice at the hospital. Our requests went unanswered.
Hospital Privileges Revoked
Javed Asghar, M.D., the board chair of the private hospital, told DAWN that the hospital had stopped Durrani from practice there following the Council's action.
"On receiving a letter from the [Council], the hospital has requested Dr. Durrani to bring a renewed certificate of registration issued by the Council to continue practice in our health facility," Dr. Asghar said.
To read the original OTW story on Durrani fleeing the U.S., click here.