“The doctor joined forces with his brother, Pradeep Lakshmanan, who was an emigrant to the U.S. Together they created their own porn website, AmazingIndians.com.”
In the city of New Delhi India a physician who was once sentenced to life in prison was released by order of the Madras High Court last Saturday.
Doctor L Prakash, an orthopedic specialist, had been held in prison for 13 years after being found guilty in the infamous ‘cyber porn’ case. The High Court decided to modify the life sentence imposed on him by a lower court, and release him after time served. The decision was handed down by Justices S. Tamilvanan and C.T. Selvam, who said this:
“The appellant has undergone 13 years and 3 months of the sentence. Accordingly, the conviction imposed by the Additional Sessions Judge is reaffirmed. However, the sentence of imprisonment is modified.”
The doctor, who operated a clinic in the town of Anna Nagar, was found to have manipulated teenage girls and other young women. The prosecution proved that he would hold them against their will in farm houses and abuse them sexually, He would then routinely sell the pornographic images via his websites around the world.
Prakash, who was arrested in 2001, was initially given a life-term for multiple felonies including Immoral Trafficking, as well as Indecent Representation of Women, for dispersing obscene pictures of females on Internet.
The surgeon was also serving a concurrent, 10-year sentence for heroin trafficking.
In handing down the original sentence, the original judge had stated that – due to the gravity of the offenses committed by the doctor – maximum punishment should be given to him and no leniency should be shown.
Apparently not. Not only is he now free, his websites are still up and making money.
More than one research study has shown that citizens with hypertension may well do themselves a huge favor by taking charge of their own treatment.
One of those, published last August in the Journal of the American Medical Association, discovered that mature patients in Great Britain who monitored their own blood pressure at home and then adjusted medications as needed, experienced lower hypertension, than those who made routine trips to their doctors’ office. Patient’s who self-monitored followed a pre-set treatment plan, but did not consult an MD when they made dosage changes.
Yet another study – published a month earlier in the American Heart Association’s magazine Hypertension – concluded that the use of home blood pressure monitors drastically cut unnecessary treatment; resulted in far fewer heart emergencies and saved thousands of dollars.
Here are 4 other ways to take charge of your own blood pressure:
Give a nod to yogurt. The probiotics in yogurt often ease blood pressure, according to Australian research. A few ounces a day will do the trick. Make sure the container label reads “active cultures.”
Double up on fruit and veggies. One essential mineral your body needs to maintain optimum blood pressure is potassium. A low potassium eating routine can be as dangerous as one that’s high in sodium. Lots of great foods pack a potassium punch. Think beans and avocadoes, bananas and nuts, melons and tomatoes, orange juice and raisins. And you don’t have to wait till the holidays to nibble on a sweet potato.
Take quick short walks. Three brisk walks a day – a study by Arizona State University discovered – is a great way to battle high blood pressure, more effective than a single, more strenuous hike.
Drink green and hibiscus teas. Excellent studies have shown that these teas can help lower blood pressure. Adult test subjects who drank three cups per day experienced an average of seven point B/P drops within 42 days. The teas were most effective in those with the highest hypertension. Their average systolic blood pressure drop was 13 points.
It was a few weeks later (after the Palm Springs Girl Scout bus crash) when I found myself sitting at a table, amazingly, having a quiet lunch with the famous Sonny Bono. No need for reservations – it was his restaurant. It was also his idea. The layout of Bono’s was extraordinary enough to mention, with world-class tennis courts on each side of the building and plenty of windows to watch the action. The courts were flawless green and set lower than the landscape, providing a bird’s-eye view from the tables inside. That was no accident, either. Sonny wanted his celebrity friends to feel comfortable, without the annoyance of the desert wind. And he knew very well that paying customers would flock to a place where they could watch people as famous as he was, running around in shorts. I couldn’t help but notice some of the shorts myself.
Johnny Carson was out there, engaged in a serious match with somebody, and Stefanie Powers sat with elegant ankles crossed, sipping something cold under an umbrella. Her television show, Hart to Hart, came immediately to mind. I smiled to myself. On some days the village of Palm Springs can honestly bumfuzzle the brain.
Inside, the penne pasta was delicious. Mayor Bono had listened to my opening spiel and now he sat with his fork suspended above his plate, staring at me in rapt attention. The expression on his face was one of utter shock.
“Are you honestly saying that this county – our county – is deranged enough to pull your Paramedic license because we used that helicopter?
“Not the whole county,” I answered. “Just the EMS part.”
“How can anybody be that pea-brained?”
I shrugged. “The helicopter was not EMS-certified. Not the aircraft, not the pilot. They were never approved to transport patients.”
He plunked his fork down and screwed up his face as if the whole world had gone mad. “That helicopter was a godsend out there. It was like . . . divine intervention! What kind of fools would let those girls lay out there in pain a minute longer than they had to?”
“The kind of fools who don’t like medics making independent decisions.”
“So what about the taxis?” he said. “I suppose we shouldn’t have used them, either.”
I sighed. “To tell you the truth, I’m surprised they didn’t make that an issue, too.”
He groaned. “There’s something wrong in the heads of people who think like this. They were probably normal till they got a little authority.”
I toyed with my iced tea. “I had about 30 seconds out there to make a decision. It made perfect sense. You saw the traffic mess. I made eye contact with the battalion chief who was busy on his radio at the time. We pointed to the chopper and we both nodded. He agreed, but it was my call. I don’t know that he even had time to talk to the pilot. That puts my certification on the line.”
He shook his head. “Sometimes I’m ashamed to call myself an American.”
My sentiment exactly. I swallowed some food and spoke quietly. “Mr. Bono, you’re a decent man. You were the most humane person out there. It took me a week to realize that. And because of that decency, you’ll probably never understand what I’m going to say next.” I paused to stress my point. “For all the good it does, rescue does not exalt moral courage at all. To the contrary, it squelches fortitude almost by reflex. In the world of EMS, saving lives is not the priority. Following every rule every time, is the priority. You get creative; try too hard to save people? That’s the fast track to a short career.”
Sonny cringed as though in pain and I suspect he probably was. His rock star days were behind him now. He was a normal person these days and this peek into the Twilight Zone was like a kick to the stomach.
He said, “Do you know why I became Mayor of Palm Springs?”
“Not really, no,” I replied.
“I ran for office because some small-minded bureaucratic twits wouldn’t let me put a sign up for this restaurant.”
“Wow. So instead of fighting city hall, you became city hall.”
“Sometimes you’ve just got to out-sneak the bastards.”
I nodded. “Well, you certainly have a great sign out there now.”
We sat silent for a time as we finished our lunch, but when he spoke again his voice grew lower, calmer, filled with resolve. There was none of the high-pitched nervousness that seemed his norm. I realized there was more to this man than being Cher’s former husband, or the overly emotional fellow in the presence of dying teenagers. Sonny Bono had not gotten where he was by dodging challenges.
He leaned forward in his seat and narrowed his eyes. “I have an idea that might work. By God, they are NOT taking away your Paramedic license.”
(And thanks to the marvelously sneaky Sonny Bono, they never did)
* * *
At one point during our lunch Sonny Bono had asked, “So in other words, we’ve reached a point where a rescuer can’t say ‘screw the rules’ and just do the right thing?”
Not in other words, Sonny. Those are the perfect words.
Utah Doctor Who Murdered His Wife Seeks Sentencing Delay
In Salt Lake City the lawyers representing a 51-year-old doctor found guilty of killing his ex-wife, have asked a 3rd District Court judge to delay his prison sentencing.
Doctor John Brickman Wall was expected to be sentenced last week for the death of Uta von Schwedler, whom police found dead in the overflowing bathtub of her home in 2011. The victim, age 49, was found with a lethal amount of Xanax in her system and a water-soaked photo album in the tub with her.
It took the three-woman, five-man jury seven hours to determine what the pathologist in the case could not – that Wall’s former wife did not commit suicide. Wall was arrested a year and a half after the body of his ex-wife was discovered.
The case against Wall, a pediatrician, was largely circumstantial. But Salt Lake County Deputy District Attorney Nicholas D’Alesandro convinced the jury that if they looked at the entire picture, they would see that Wall was guilty beyond any reasonable doubt in the killing of the University of Utah researcher.
Co-prosecutor Matthew Janzen focused on the trail of bloody shoe prints found in the victim’s kitchen, and other blood that had been partially cleaned up, which in the case of a suicide, he stressed, would make no sense.
In Janzen’s words, “The circumstantial evidence is overwhelming.”
The doctor was convicted in a jury trial last month of First Degree Murder.
According to court records, the county medical examiner was initially unable to determine von Schwedler’s cause of death. There was some question as to whether she might have committed suicide. But numerous family members and friends persuaded investigators to look deeper into the case. They pointed to Wall and the couple’s angry relationship, which continued years after their divorce.
Prosecutors argued that on Sept. 27, 2011, Wall injected von Schwedler with Xanax while she was asleep, then sat on her chest until she was unconscious. They believe he then placed her in the bathtub and filled it with water until she drowned. Von Schwedler was a very well-liked cancer scientist at the University of Utah with no signs of suicidal tendencies, and she had no prescription for Xanax.
In the weeks leading up to von Schwedler’s death, the couple had repeatedly argued over custody of their children.
Defense attorney Fred Metos asked that the sentencing be delayed until June in order to file several legal motions.
The following story is related word-for-word by a veteran Paramedic:
Chest pain at an urgent-care facility. A female in her 40s, according to the dispatch notes. For all we know, this could be a 93-year-old male with a bunion. Silly call takers.
This time, they got it right.
“She is 43,” the physician on staff informs us. “Her chest has been hurting since 11 o’clock last night, and she needs to go to the emergency room. Her EKG is abnormal” he goes on, as he hands me a 12-lead.
It’s a sinus rhythm in the 70s with not a thing wrong. I couldn’t draw one better with a ruler and 6 hours of practice. But it says “Abnormal EKG” at the top.
I guess ‘reading EKGs’ is the same as ‘reading the words at the top of the EKG’ to some people.
“Hi, I’m ‘C’ from the ambulance, how are you doing today?” I ask the very matronly, middle-eastern appearing woman in the room. I notice she is fully clothed, and wonder how an accurate EKG was obtained through a sweater, long sleeve shirt, and bra.
I suppose she could have gotten dressed after disrobing, but I doubt it.
“I’m fine, I guess. What are you guys doing here?” She looks genuinely puzzled.
“Well, the doctor called us and thinks you should go to the emergency room because your chest hurts.”
“I threw up 5 times last night and it made my throat burn. Where did he get chest pain? I don’t want to go to the hospital.”
The doctor walks in the room; “Yes ma’am, these nice ambulance people are going to take you to the hospital to make sure everything is alright.”
“But I don’t want to go to the hospital!” she retorts.
“I really think it is in your best interest” the doctor replies as he walks out of the room.
She acquiesces to the suggestion, but seems hesitant. I’m not too concerned just yet.
“Let’s move you into the ambulance, and get a few things done, and just go from there.”
After loading her in the ambulance, and several uncomfortable moments while she undresses from the waist up, with her modesty maintained, of course, her EKG still looks better than mine. Try and try, I can’t find anything wrong with it. Her vital signs are more than fantastic. Excellent, actually.
We determine that she vomited several times during the night after eating sushi and having drinks with her friends. Her throat and nostrils were burning, but her pain was gone now. Drinking milk or cold liquids seemed to help the situation. Then she says the magic words: “I don’t want to go to the hospital.”
We do the whole rigmarole with the refusal paperwork, and she signs the form, saying she will go to the hospital if she ever needs to, but will never come back to this place.
I don’t blame her.
She gets dressed again, and steps out of the ambulance, walks to her car, then drives off. After we rearrange the ambulance and put the equipment back, I step out of the side door, to be met by the same doctor from inside with a very disapproving look on his face.
“Just what do you think you are doing?”
“Getting in the ambulance, and going in service” I reply. “The patient didn’t want to go to the hospital.”
“She has to go, I’m the doctor, and that’s why I called the ambulance.”
“Maybe if you had explained to her that you wanted her to go to the hospital by ambulance, she could have told you she didn’t want to go, and you wouldn’t have wasted her time.”
The Medical Director of the Biscayne Milieu Health Center in Florida has been found guilty of massive healthcare fraud, in a scheme that robbed almost $50,000,000 from the federal Medicare insurance program.
Doctor Gary Kushner, a psychiatrist, along with 27 other employees of the Center, was convicted in one of the largest medical fraud conspiracies in history involving millions of dollars in illegal Medicare billing.
Biscayne Milieu Health Center is a mental health center located in Miami. The co-conspirators routinely paid recruiters to find patients for its partial hospitalization program (PHP), which is an accepted mental health treatment protocol.
But investigators learned that most of the recruited patients were not eligible because they were substance abusers or had some other disqualifying condition. Numerous “patients” had no mental health condition at all.
Additionally, the so-called patients did not receive the patient care that the clinic said they did.
Investigators discovered that Medical Director Kushner did not treat “patients.” Instead he falsified medical records so that non-patients appeared as legitimate psychiatric care receivers.
Kushner also routinely signed medical charts without providing treatment, and Biscayne Milieu then billed Medicare for millions, as though he was the attending physician.
When Biscayne Milieu would receive payments, clinic executives would launder the money through various accounts.
In the end, Daffy Doc Kushner was arrested; sent to trial; convicted and sent to federal prison for 12 years. A jaw-dropping 27 of his coworkers and employees have also been found guilty.
And some folks wonder why any Paramedic might become a heretic.