Blowing the Whistle on Counterfeit Medical Screws
Medical screws serve an important purpose. In this particular case, they were implanted into the spines of patients as a solution to their back pain. The problem was these the medical screws were counterfeit, leaving the patients exposed to numerous health issues later in life. Even worse, many of those patients didn’t need surgery in the first place. They were the targets of a scam known to federal investigators as “Operation Spinal Cap.”
It all started with Mark Sersansie and Bill Reynolds. The Southern California residents discovered the situation and began putting all of the pieces into place, with evidence, in order to blow the whistle on the participants of the scheme. Doctors received counterfeit medical screws that closely resembled their FDA-approved counterparts, and then received kickbacks from the company in order to perform back surgeries on patients. A number of middlemen found the patients, some of whom didn’t even need the surgery, and then gave their information to the doctors. The surgeons received kickbacks for performing the operations at particular hospitals.
Counterfeit Medical Screws
These operations were done for a very specific purpose – implanting the counterfeit medical screws into the patient’s spines in an effort to supposedly ease their pain and suffering. Instead, it made their pain much worse once the screws began to come apart while in their bodies. FDA- approved medical screws are made of a surgical grade metal. The counterfeit ones were not. As a result, they leached toxic metal into the patient’s bodies or started to fall apart, leaving bits of metal in their bones and soft tissues. The patients wound up with even more pain than they were in before, causing quite a bit of suffering.
$40 Million in Kickbacks
By the time Reynolds and Sersansie, who worked for a medical supply firm, caught wind of the scheme and brought it to the attention of federal regulators, everyone involved had received over $40 million in kickbacks. The patients were left with pain and low quality of life, just so the surgeons, middlemen, and the surgical supply company could make more money. The masterminds of the scheme are now in prison, but the patients cannot live a normal life, particularly since some of them don’t know that their procedures were done with counterfeit medical screws.
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