Dr. Paul Muizelaar, the top neurosurgeon at the University of California – Davis, has stepped down from his position, which he has held since being hired in 1997, pending an investigation into his actions regarding treatment he administered to three terminally ill patients. Together with underling Dr. Rudolph Schrot, Muizelaar used a bacteria on the cancer patients that had the potential to prolong their lives. However, the bacteria used is only authorized to be tested on rats.
Muizelaar has reportedly welcomed the investigation, saying that he did nothing wrong. As far as he was aware the pair had permission from the required source and also had written consent from the three patients. Muizelaar and Schrot said they were not conducting research, but were providing an “innovating” treatment. “I welcome a thorough review so that all the facts can be known,” said Muizelaar in a statement.
Two of the patients died of sepsis shortly after the treatment. The third lived for several months, but has passed away since.
This is not the first time Muizelaar’s actions have been questioned. In 2008, another neurosurgeon, Dr. Dongwoo John Chang, sued Muizelaar accusing him of conducting “unethical and illegal activities.” Chang told the courts that Muizelaar failed to get the consent of patients before giving treatment, performing surgery that wasn’t necessary and falsifying the medical records of several other patients.
Muizelaar has a special faculty permit, which allows him to legally practice at a California medical school and any hospital associated with them. However, Chang accused Muizelaar of performing surgery at Mercy hospitals, which would require an official California medical license.
Muizelaar said he shouldn’t need an official license because he is “world famous” and the procedure required to obtain one would be too time consuming. Muizelaar will not be able to provide any kind of treatment, or conduct any research until the investigation has ended.
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