Feds Say Mich. Doctor Convicted of Fraud Exposed Patients to Infection

November 16, 2007

Federal court records say a Michigan dermatologist’s unsanitary practices have exposed thousands of his patients to the possibility of infection.

Dr. Robert Stokes, who had offices in Grand Rapids and Greenville, is awaiting sentencing next month after being convicted in April on 31 counts of health care fraud for overbilling insurance companies.

Recently unsealed court records say Stokes’ former employees told federal investigators that he habitually reused sutures, hypodermic syringes and hypodermic needles on multiple patients, The Grand Rapids Press reported Wednesday.

The Kent County Health Department said he apparently used a sterilizing solution and there is only a slight chance of infection.

But the agency is mailing letters to more than 5,000 of Stokes’ former patients. The letters warn that they should visit their primary-care physicians to see whether they should be tested for diseases transmitted through blood or body fluids.

Stokes could not be reached for comment. A telephone number could not be found for his home.

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