Jason Pirozzolo, a Florida hand surgeon, is being investigated by the feds for “having allegedly paid for the travel expenses, accommodations, and female escorts” on a trip to the Bahamas with Congressman Matt Gaetz. According to a CBS News report,” Investigators are trying to find out whether Gaetz was exchanging political access or legislative favors in return for paid escorts. He has twice introduced the Medical Cannabis Research Act in Congress which has never been voted on.

Pirozzolo, cofounder and chairman of the board of the Medical Marijuana Physicians Association, had Gaetz speak at two separate MMPA conferences, one of which was followed by a Gaetz campaign fundraiser. He also donated to Gaetz’s campaign. Last week, Pirozzolo closed his office for a family emergency.

Social media strikes again. Some obstetrics and gynecology residents in Michigan are in trouble for posting photographs from the operating room on their public Instagram account. Operative specimen pictures were accompanied by comments such as “longest one wins” and “yes that’s a record.” A photo of what was probably a uterus had a caption that said, “The other game we play in the OR is guess that weight. It applies to much more than just babies. As always, ‘Price Is Right’ rules apply so if you go over then you’re out!”

A malpractice lawyer who was interviewed for an article by WOODTV.com pointed out that the photos could be in violation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA, not HIPPA) of 1996 because patients could possibly be identified if someone knew what day they were hospitalized and what diagnosis they were admitted for.

The hospital system promised a complete investigation. Meanwhile, the Instagram account, which was not sanctioned by the hospital, has been deleted. The lawyer said, “I would say it’s probably a millennials issue because the millennials have grown up on this social media, and it’s just part of their DNA if you will, with regard to the way they think.” Of course—millennials.

Here’s a good one from our friends at Retraction Watch. Ahmed Elkhouly, a medical resident at a hospital in New Jersey, had five published papers retracted when the journal they appeared in discovered his wife had been a peer reviewer for all the submissions. The journal Cureus, like many journals, apparently asks authors to submit the names of potential peer reviewers with expertise in the subject matter.

It looks like the Elkhoulys are a 21st Century Renaissance couple because the topics of the retracted papers included a patient with dysmenorrhea and acute appendicitis, an electrical storm in a patient with an implantable cardioverter/defibrillator, neurological manifestations associated with Covid-19 infections, cardiac dysfunction in stroke patients, and ultrasound-directed catheter thrombolysis in pulmonary embolism.

The scheme was discovered when an editor noticed “the reviewer had the same name and a very similar IP address.” When they contacted Dr. Elkhouly, he confessed. His residency program was notified. What action, if any, they took is unknown. Also unknown are Mrs. Elkhouly’s qualifications. The journal admitted, “We do not know if his wife is a physician or scientist,” as if that would have made it okay.

 

Skeptical Scalpel is a retired surgeon and was a surgical department chair and residency program director for many years. He is board-certified in general surgery and a surgical sub-specialty and has re-certified in both several times. For the last 9 years, he has been blogging at SkepticalScalpel.blogspot.com and tweeting as @SkepticScalpel. His blog has had more than 3,700,000 page views, and he has over 21,000 followers on Twitter.