What nerve!By James Quiggle
January 1, 2002
Dr. Felix Vasquez-Ruiz gave thousands of poor people painful and worthless nerve tests using dangerous electric shocks to patients’ arms and legs so he could fraudulently bill taxpayer-supported health insurers $4 million, according to news reports.
Patients with heart conditions or high blood pressure could’ve suffered strokes or heart attacks from the shocks, the court said. The Chicago physician lured many patients from health screenings set up in grocery stores. Most were Hispanic factory workers; he promised them free tests but charged insurance companies $3,000 per test.
The tests also revealed some patients actually had serious medical problems, but Vasquez-Ruiz didn’t bother telling them.
Vasquez-Ruiz also falsified medical records to make it seem thousands of patients had complained of serious pain in their arms, legs and back. “You lied through your teeth. I’m not sure what was true about your testimony besides your name and address,” the judge said. He sentenced Vasquez-Ruiz to 14 years in federal prison in September 2002.
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