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The 13 Worst Doctors of All Time

First, do no harm. Most doctors respect and obey this critical medical rule. They want to help, not hurt, their patients. But there are a few who seem to have missed this important message. They may look at their patients and see an opportunity to make money. Or they may see a chance to vent their rage. Or they may simply not care enough to be careful when taking care of people.

Whether it's breaching the bounds of professional safety to cater to an aging pop star (ahem, Dr. Conrad Murray), showing up drunk for an emergency room shift, being unable to diagnose something as basic as pregnancy, or wreaking havoc on your patients' genitals, there are doctors out there who you're better off steering clear of. Read on to learn about some of the worst doctors of all time: thirteen doctors who should be avoided, at all costs.

Who are the worst doctors of all time? Take a look and see who are the doctors to avoid.

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  1. 1

    Dr. Conrad Murray


    Dr. Conrad Murray was just convicted for the involuntary manslaughter of Michael Jackson. He had prescribed the drug Propofol, a surgical anesthetic, as a treatment for insomnia. However, Dr. Murray didn't provide the necessary medical equipment or oversight needed for the drug. Dr. Murray's medical license has been suspended, but even if he regains the right to practice medicine, he will always be a doctor to avoid.

    Michael Jackson Doc Guilty
    Dr. Conrad Murray's Appeal

  2. 2

    Dr. Cecil Jacobson

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    More and more couples are turning to fertility doctors to help them conceive. It's nothing to be ashamed of, but it does open up a whole new world of medical fraud. Most doctors in these field are reputable and trustworthy, of course, but one who abused the trust of his patients was Dr. Cecil Jacobson. Jacobson had told patients he was using the sperm they wanted during artificial insemination procedures--either from their husbands or from anonymous donors--when in fact he used his own sperm to impregnate them. At the time of his conviction in 1992, he had officially been found to be the biological father of 15 of his patients' children, but prosecutors said he could have fathered as many as 75 kids. Of course, this happened 20 years ago, so it's not like it could happen today, right? Think again: in 2005, a couple filed suit against Dr. Ben Ramaley for the same reason. And so science takes one step forward thanks to medical advances, two steps back thanks to medical assholes.

    Fertility Doctor Found Guilty
    Fertility Doctor Substitutes His Own Sperm

  3. 3

    Dr. Prabir Kumar Ghosh

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    A doctor in India was arrested recently when he showed up drunk for his emergency room shift. It may not have been the first time he knocked back a few before turning up for work: local complaints said that he's been drunk on the job for years. Dr. Prabir Kumar Ghosh admitted he was intoxicated but said he had his reasons, one of which was that he was simply trying to relieve his joint pain. If only he could've gotten to a hospital for proper treatment, then this whole problem could've been avoided and... oh, wait. Never mind.

    Drunk Doctor Suspended

  4. 4

    University of Washington Surgeons

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    In 2001, the University of Washington admitted that surgeons at its hospital had left five surgical instruments in different patients over the course of five years. In fact, the hospital had just settled one case for leaving a 13-inch retractor in a patient when it discovered another 13-inch retractor had also been left behind in a patient. The hospital instituted new safety procedures, but this surgical department definitely has doctors you want to avoid: after all, mementos can be nice, but mementos that are forgotten in your stomach cavity should always be avoided.

    Surgical Tools Left in Five Patients

  5. 5

    Doctors Who Can't Diagnose Pregnancy

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    For five months, her primary care physician assured Anita Arora that her periods had stopped because she was going through menopause. At 46 it was a possibility, but so was pregnancy--however, the doctor's office never thought to make sure with a pregnancy test. There was another chance for someone to see the baby when Arora had an ultrasound to check for gallstones, but again no one noticed. However, it was suggested that she might want to eat a healthier diet to get rid of all that weight she'd put on. The pregnancy was finally discovered when Arora insisted on a pregnancy test. Fortunately the baby was safely delivered, and by other doctors than the ones who hadn't noticed the pregnancy in the first place.

    Doctor's Blunder Nearly Kills Baby

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    Dr. Gerianne Geszler and Dr. Dorrette Grant

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    There is a medical condition called pseudocyesis, or false pregnancy, which makes a woman mimic the symptoms of pregnancy: swollen stomach, no periods, morning sickness. However, the key word here is "false." A quick look at an ultrasound will show that there is no baby on the way. Dr. Gerianne Geszler and Dr. Dorrette Grant were working at the Cape Fear Medical Center in North Carolina when a woman suffering from pseudocyesis showed up. When no heartbeat was detected on an ultrasound (remember, no baby = no heartbeat!), the two doctors rushed the woman in for a C-section, trying to save the distressed fetus. It was only upon opening the woman's uterus that they realized there was nothing inside. At least they noticed then.

    Doctor Perform C-Section to Find Woman Isn't Pregnant
    Web MD: False Pregnancy

  7. 7

    Dr. Loren Borud

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    In 2008, Dr. Loren Borud, a plastic surgeon in Massachusetts with a history of drug and alcohol abuse, fell asleep while performing liposuction on a patient, a great indicator of a truly awful doctor. However, there was another terrible doctor on duty that day: Borud's supervisor, Dr. Donald Moorman, the vice chair of the surgical department of the hospital where Dr. Borud was operating, was told that same day that Dr. Borud was operating while impaired. Dr. Moorman had options: he could have called the operating room or sent another surgeon to check that everything was okay. Instead, he did nothing, perhaps because he didn't want to interrupt Dr. Borud's beauty sleep? Either way, if your doctor looks tired, be very afraid.

    Doctor Censured in OR Sleeping Case
    State Suspends Plastic Surgeon's License

  8. 8

    Dr. Andrew Holton

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    While working as a pediatric neurologist in England, Dr. Andrew Holton managed to misdiagnose 618 children with epilepsy, sentencing some of them to years on unnecessary drug regimes, which included side effects like black-outs and hazes. Many of the children simply had headaches or behavioral problems. If you wonder how Dr. Holton managed such a feat of misdiagnosis, it turns out he actually wasn't qualified to work in pediatric neurology.

    Misdiagnosed Victims Paid Compensation

  9. 9

    Dr. Yasser Awaad


    At least the previous doctor was probably just an idiot. Dr. Yasser Awaad, a pediatric neurologist in Detroit, stands accused of falsely diagnosing 255 patients with epilepsy in order to make money via insurance reimbursements. Like with Dr. Holton, patients had unnecessary drug regimes, but Dr. Awaad took things a step further and also performed unnecessary surgeries to implant devices for controlling seizures. Devices his patients didn't need since they didn't actually have epilepsy. So remember kids: get a second opinion before letting someone operate on your brain!

    Misdiagnosed for Greed?
    Lawsuit Claims Doctor Misdiagnosed for Cash

  10. 10

    Doctors Who Can't Tell Left from Right

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    Benjamin Houghton, an Air Force Veteran, checked into a VA Medical Center in 2006 to have his potentially cancerous left testicle removed. Doctors there removed his healthy right testicle instead. Sadly, word of this medical error didn't reach doctors in Italy. In 2010 a 27-year-old man with a tumor in his left testicle got on the operating table, where surgeons removed his right testicle. The surgeons then quickly realized their mistake and removed the left testicle, too. So guys, to be safe, for testicle-related care you probably want to avoid VA centers. And Italy.

    Veteran Files Claim
    Italian Gets 180,000 Euros

  11. 11

    Dr. James C. Burt

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    Some doctors show how horrible they can be in specific, isolated incidents. Dr. James C. Burt abused his patients for 22 years until the victims spoke out in 1988. Dr. Burt, a truly horrifying doctor in Ohio, spent years restructuring female patients' genitals, without their consent. He believed that women were "structurally inadequate for intercourse," a condition he thought his surgeries could fix, making his patients into "horny little mice." Instead of unleashing his patients' sexuality, he created sexual dysfunction, multiple kidney and bladder infections, and the need for corrective surgery.

    Charges Against Doctor Bring Ire and Questions

  12. 12

    Dr. Graeme Reeves


    The previous doctor believed he could surgically alter his patients to create sexually-supercharged women. Dr. Graeme Reeves went in the opposite direction. Carolyn DeWaegeneire went to see Dr. Reeves, an Australian gynecologist, to have him remove a possibly pre-cancerous lesion from her labia. During the operation, he leaned over and told her he was going to remove her clitoris too. He added that since the patient's husband was dead, it didn't matter if he removed it, which he proceeded to do. He was sentenced to two years in jail for inflicting grievous bodily harm. His victim believed the sentence was too light, asking what sentence the court would give "if a penis and scrotum had been cut off" instead.

    Doctor Jailed for Mutilation

  13. 13

    Dr. Naum Ciomu

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    In Romania, Nelu Radonescu went to see Dr. Naum Ciomu for help with his testicular malformation. During the 2004 operation, Dr. Ciomu lost his temper, cut off Radonescu's penis, and then sliced it into three pieces. A plastic surgeon tried to save Radonescu's organ, but couldn't. Dr. Ciomu was only barred from practicing medicine for three years. He also had to pay Radonescu damages, including money for an operation try to reconstruct the penis from arm tissue. Shockingly, the doctor's union in Romania objected to the order to pay damages, stating that the precedent might lead doctors to refuse to perform operations. Given the outcome for poor Nelu Radonescu, maybe that's better.

    Crimes Below the Belt

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