Neurosurgeons resign after controversial brain bacteria experiment

Aug. 25, 2013 at 12:40 PM
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DAVIS, Calif., Aug. 25 (UPI) -- Two University of California, Davis, neurosurgeons who injected bowel bacteria into the brains of three cancer patients have resigned, school documents show.

The newly released documents reveal the two surgeons, Dr. J. Paul Muizelaar, 66, former head of the neurosurgery department, and Dr. Rudolph J. Schrot, 45, an associate professor, were found to have "deliberately circumvented" internal policies and "defied directives" from top leaders, and gone around federal regulations with their experimental treatment, The Sacramento Bee reported Sunday.

The doctors were critical of the findings against them and told the newspaper the multiple investigations into their work were biased and incomplete. They said they acted in the best interests of their patients, whose prognoses for survival had been poor. The doctors have decided not to appeal the university's findings.

"I lost confidence, if you will, in the ability of the university administration to fairly handle it," Schrot said Friday in the office of his Sacramento attorney.

The Bee said the three patients consented to the injections in 2010 and 2011. Two of them died within weeks and the third died more than a year later.

The cases raised questions of the nature of the patients' consent with families of two of them settling claims against the university for $150,000 and $675,000.

The university's findings also found fault beyond the two physicians, saying "additional safeguards must be developed and implemented to further protect research subjects and patients." The dean of the university's School of Medicine, Dr. Claire Pomeroy, resigned last November effective June 2. She also was criticized by the internal reports.

The California Department of Public Health has fined the medical center $50,000 for violations related to the neurosurgeons' experimental work that created "immediate jeopardy" to patient safety, the Bee said.

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