Harron could lose New York medical license over asbestos readings

Steve Korris Mar. 18, 2009, 3:00pm


ALBANY, N. Y. – Radiologist Ray Harron of Bridgeport, W. Va., lost his Texas and Mississippi medical licenses for supplying false X-ray reports to lawyers, and New York state regulators want to kick him out too.

In December, a committee of the New York State Board for Professional Medical Conduct voted to revoke Harron's license for fraudulent practice and negligence.

"Respondent was part of an operation to find plaintiffs with silicosis whether or not they really had silicosis," committee chairman Lyon Greenberg wrote.

"This is perpetrating a fraud on the courts," he wrote.

Harron has appealed to an administrative review board.

New York granted him a license in 1958.

In 2005, U. S. District Judge Janis Jack of Corpus Christi, Texas, exposed falsification of X-ray reports by Harron and other radiologists.

In 2007, Texas Medical Board members ordered Harron not to practice medicine until his license expired and not to seek renewal after it expired.

They wrote, "Respondent testified in federal court that he 'capitulated' to a request by attorneys that he put language in his reports concerning his relying on a 'physical examination' even if those physical examinations did not add anything to the diagnosis."

They wrote, "Respondent admits he does not know if the law firms or the screening companies took the exposure history referenced in his reports."

In Mississippi, where Harron's license had lapsed, he and the State Board of Medical Licensure agreed that he would never seek reinstatement.

New York regulators took the next step, claiming the actions that brought discipline in Texas and Mississippi would constitute misconduct in New York.

Last December, three doctors held a committee hearing. Harron did not attend.

His lawyers, Lawrence Goldman and Elizabeth Johnson of New York City, argued that Texas regulators didn't issue findings of fact about fraud or negligence.

The New York doctors disagreed, finding that Texas regulators clearly intended to state that Harron's methods promoted the issuance of false and fraudulent reports.

"He abdicated his duty to ensure that the reports written by his staff were medically adequate," Greenberg wrote.

"Respondent's inadequate and incomplete methodology for determining whether a plaintiff had silicosis as well as his method for generating reports also constituted negligence on more than one occasion," he wrote.

Harron chose not to appear at the hearing, he wrote.

"Although it is understood that he is elderly and seriously ill, the Respondent's attorneys conceded that he is not precluded from traveling," he wrote.

"Therefore, there is no evidence in the record of whatever mitigating circumstances may be present in this case," he wrote.

"There is only evidence of a physician who repeatedly participated in an operation to find silicosis patients by means that were less than reliable and legitimate," he wrote.

Doctors Arsenio Agopovich and Thomas King Jr. joined the decision.

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