Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce

BEAUTIFUL BAKERSFIELD
Certificate Of Appresiation


 

Guardian Angel Award

Bakersfield Memorial Hospital Foundation
Guardian Angels


 

Certificate of recognition Dr. Jorge A. Enriquez

In Recongnition of receiving the 1014 Proyecto Compasion

Be it resolved by CALIFORNIA STATE SENATOR ANDY VIDAK, that drt. Jorge Enriquez be acknowledged for outstanding community involvement, Congratulations on receiving this great honor!


 
 
 

CERTIFICATE OF SPECIAL CONGRESSIONAL RECOGNITION PRESENTED TO DR. JORGE A. ENRIQUEZ

In Recognition of outstanding and invaluable service to the community


 
 

A USA TODAY study found that tens of thousands of times each year, patients undergo surgery they don't need.

The scar from Jonathan Stelly's pacemaker surgery is visible on his chest. Stelly had dreams of playing professional baseball, but the surgery he had at 22 meant it would never happen. He later learned that he hadn't needed the surgery.(Photo: Kevin Moloney for USA TODAY)

Story Highlights

Data show that 10% to 20% of some common surgeries are done unnecessarily

More than 1,000 doctors have paid malpractice claims

Victims of some unnecessary surgeries suffer their entire lives

Jonathan Stelly was 22, a semi-pro baseball player aiming for the big leagues, when a fainting spell sent him to his cardiologist for tests. The doctor's office called afterward with shocking news: If Stelly wanted to live to age 30, he was told, he'd need a pacemaker.

Stelly knew it would be the end of his baseball dream, but he made a quick decision. "I did what the doctor said," he recalls. "I trusted him."

Months after the surgery, local news outlets reported that the Louisiana cardiologist, Mehmood Patel, was being investigated for performing unnecessary surgeries. Stelly had another doctor review his case. Then another. And another. They all agreed: He needed blood pressure medication, but he never needed the pacemaker.

When health care makes you sick: USA TODAY's series(Photo: Frank Pompa, USA TODAY)

Today, Patel is in prison, convicted of billing Medicare for dozens of unnecessary heart procedures. Stelly, now 34, still has the pacemaker – but the doctors shut it off years ago.

"Baseball was my life, and he took that away," Stelly says. "For nothing."

Tens of thousands of times each year, patients are wheeled into the nation's operating rooms for surgery that isn't necessary, a USA TODAY review of government records and medical databases finds. Some, such as Stelly, fall victim to predators who enrich themselves by bilking insurers for operations that are not medically justified. Even more turn to doctors who simply lack the competence or training to recognize when a surgical procedure can be avoided, either because the medical facts don't warrant it or because there are non-surgical treatments that would better serve the patient.

The scope and toll of the problem are enormous, yet it remains largely hidden. Public attention has been limited to a few sensational cases, typically involving doctors who put cardiac stents in patients who didn't need them.

“Baseball was my life, and he took that away.”

— Jonathan Stelly, 34, whose MLB dreams were dashed by a pacemaker

In fact, unnecessary surgeries might account for 10% to 20% of all operations in some specialties, including a wide range of cardiac procedures — not only stents, but also angioplasty and pacemaker implants — as well as many spinal surgeries. Knee replacements, hysterectomies, and cesarean sections are among the other surgical procedures performed more often than needed, according to a review of in-depth studies and data generated by both government and academic sources.

Since 2005, more than 1,000 doctors have made payments to settle or close malpractice claims in surgical cases that involved allegations of unnecessary or inappropriate procedures, according to a USA TODAY analysis of the U.S. government's National Practitioner Data Bank public use file, which tracks the suits. About half the doctors' payments involved allegations of serious permanent injury or death, and many of the cases involved multiple plaintiffs, suggesting many hundreds, if not thousands, of victims.