An anesthesiologist who ran several pain management clinics, including one in Belleville, has been stripped of his medical license by the state Board of Medical Examiners for gross and repeated malpractice, N.J. Attorney General Robert Lougy announced on Thursday.
Dr. Amgad Hessein, who owned Advanced Pain Management Specialists in Belleville, Newark, Union and South Orange, was judged guilty of numerous offenses, including giving unnecessary steroid injections to patients, creating fictitious patient records and indiscriminately prescribing pain pills without medical justification, Lougy reported.
In revoking his license, the board deemed Hessein a “fundamentally corrupt and/or incompetent practitioner” who showed a “shocking disregard for patient safety and welfare.”
The 59-year-old Hessein, who lives in Belmar, is also under criminal indictment for health care claims fraud. Authorities said he and an office manager are accused of submitting more than $1.5 million in fraudulent Medicare and private health care claims between 2006 and 2010.
Hessein’s criminal trial is scheduled to begin in Union County on June 20.
Hessein’s license was suspended after his indictment in 2011. In addition to now revoking the license, the board ordered him to pay a $130,000 civil penalty and reimburse the state $308,750 for its investigative and prosecuting costs.
The misconduct cited by the board included:
- Administering steroid injections without medical justification and/or failing to stop administering ineffective steroid injections.
- Failing to inform patients of potential, serious risks before performing injections.
- Neglecting to follow up on patients’ potentially dangerous symptoms and complaints.
- Failing to monitor vital signs of patients under sedation.
- Refilling pain medication prescriptions without medical justification.
- Allowing and billing for unlicensed employees to render physical therapies.
- Creating fictitious patient records and submitting health claims based on those false records.
Hessein’s attorney had reportedly argued against revocation, asking that the board impose an alternative sanction, such as a license suspension for a limited period. But, according to Lougy’s office, the board rejected that request, “stating that Hessein’s judgment and character was so corrupt, and his disregard for patient safety so flagrant and pervasive, that revoking his license was the only way to adequately protect the public.”
In its final decision, the board wrote: “We cannot envision a circumstance in which such a fundamentally dishonest and negligent physician would ever be sufficiently rehabilitated to be trusted to hold a medical license again.”