Plastic surgeon's patients were 'at risk,' colleagues say

Jan 27, 2008 Read more: Norwalk Advocate 15

“I haven't had to watch anybody, haven't had to take calls from the operating room about violations of scheduling.”

Though saddened that Greenwich plastic surgeon Dr. Ian Rubins died of an apparent drug overdose last week, his closest colleagues say they were relieved when state health and hospital officials finally stopped the doctor from operating on patients.

'For a good many years, many patients were at risk,' said Susan Galbraith Zimmerman, Rubins' former business manager at a Norwalk practice. There were times when she and other staff members had to 'rescue' Rubins from Botox consultations because he was unable even to speak, Zimmerman said. Read more

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Pat

Morristown, NJ

#1 Jan 28, 2008
I am appalled and dismayed that Dr.Ian Rubins' closest colleagues as well as his business practice manager knowingly knew how impaired the doctor had become and did not take immediate steps to safeguard his patients. The article quotes that Dr. Rubins was .."taking drugs consistently before and during his tenure at Greenwich Hospital..." I don't care if Greenwich Hospital said that he was constantly being monitored. This is surgery and involves patients' lives. A patient has a right to know
if his physician is under supervision or has any problems that may impair his ability to perform
at his best capacity.

Is this a case of doctors covering for each other?
Is this a case where it is more important for an
practice manager to keep one's job rather than to safeguard the public?

Obviously, Dr. Rubins had some serious problems
that he was unable to overcome. But what I find
saddening and more disappointing is the action of
his colleagues in not protecting the public.
Surgery is not to be taken lightly. It involves
someone's life. Even with the most experienced surgeons ( who are not operating under impaired circumstances), devasting complications as well as death do occur.

I doubt that any of his colleagues would like their family members or themselves to be operated upon by a physician who was not as his best mentally and physically.

What ever happened to "the patient comes first?"
Last seen

East Rutherford, NJ

#2 Jan 29, 2008
Greenwich women will have to find a new nose job doctor.
Jane

Hemet, CA

#3 Jan 29, 2008
It's really sad that these things happen to those we are supposed to trust with our lives and well-being. I guess we just have to remember that everyone is human and keep in mind to be very careful of who we give our confidence to.

I did a search on http://www.trustedsurgeons.com and didn't find Ian Rubins. I'm not sure how quickly their database is updated, but I think a lot of danger could have been avoided by patients if they had bothered to do some sort of research.
moving

East Rutherford, NJ

#4 Jan 30, 2008
Scary!!! Who can you trust?
Friend

White Plains, NY

#5 Jan 31, 2008
First,
We are all human, have vices, and make mistakes. He was brilliant and amazing at what he did. He was also a more decent human being than many. Yes, he had addictions...ones that he battled, and was not proud of. What are your addictions? We all have them in some form or another....attachments that we cling to for happiness...not realizing that we have been conditioned., and can not find true happiness outside of ourselves. He needed help and guidance, and real friends, colleagues, or anyone else who claimed to have loved him, would have been by his side until he overcame. Were they there when he lost his livelihood? did they understand what he was enduring? Did they care lend a hand? What did they really feel or think? He was a beautiful personality, warm, and caring and had a wonderful spirit. Did he harm you? I agree that his judgement or lack thereof could have cost lives, but did it? Instead of people waiting for him to fall, why didn't they help him up? Ask yourself that question. Forgive. Read "The Way To Love", by Anthony De Mello. Learn to love, and let the man rest in peace. He is being held and loved as he should have been on Earth. God is awesome!
exposem

Hartford, CT

#6 Feb 1, 2008
All doctors, not just those who have a drug problem should be required to pass random drug tests.

Why wait till they botch surgery?

Air traffic controllers are required to take random drug tests even if they have no such history. It is not considered to be a violation of their civil rights, since it is a public safety issue. They do not wait for a plane to crash to test their employees.

Random testing of all doctors!

Also, we need a ban on secret settlements and we need to open the National Practitioner's Data Bank.
One Voice

Overland Park, KS

#7 Feb 1, 2008
exposem wrote:
All doctors, not just those who have a drug problem should be required to pass random drug tests.
Why wait till they botch surgery?
Air traffic controllers are required to take random drug tests even if they have no such history. It is not considered to be a violation of their civil rights, since it is a public safety issue. They do not wait for a plane to crash to test their employees.
Random testing of all doctors!
Also, we need a ban on secret settlements and we need to open the National Practitioner's Data Bank.
Very interesting point and excellent comparison! Also,we would probably learn a lot if the Data Bank was made publically available. On the other hand, I wonder how many doctors settled with patients because, for example, a baby was born with blue eyes and the doctor said they would be brown? I have no doubt that there are a lot of cases in which a doctor settles a ridiculous case just so it doesn't get dragged out. Still, we would be better off if we knew if a doctor was hiding something.
exposem

Hartford, CT

#8 Feb 1, 2008
One Voice wrote:
<quoted text>
Also,we would probably learn a lot if the Data Bank was made publically available.
We would learn a lot more but not everything.

The New York Times has documented the incompleteness of the information of the Practitoner's Data Bank. Hospitals have no incentive to report the errors because it would hurt their business. The number of unreported deaths is in the thousands. A ban on secret settlements would seal that loophole and protect patients from manipulated information.

Seems to me, the Data Bank should be opened and then abolished. After that we could institute a ban on secret settlements.

Also, we have to start arresting doctors who alter, rewrite and destroy records.
exposem

Hartford, CT

#9 Feb 1, 2008
One Voice wrote:
<quoted text>
I have no doubt that there are a lot of cases in which a doctor settles a ridiculous case just so it doesn't get dragged out.
Yes, I've heard of one doctors who got sued because he told an obese woman she was obese.

Opening the Practitioner's Data Bank and banning secret settlements would enable us to do an accurate analysis of frivolous lawsuits.

But most doctors like the current secrecy, so I suspect the frivolous part is not too bad.
exposem

Hartford, CT

#10 Feb 1, 2008
One Voice wrote:
<quoted text>
Very interesting point and excellent comparison!
Thank you!
Patty

Greensboro, NC

#11 Feb 5, 2008
exposem wrote:
All doctors, not just those who have a drug problem should be required to pass random drug tests.
Why wait till they botch surgery?
Air traffic controllers are required to take random drug tests even if they have no such history. It is not considered to be a violation of their civil rights, since it is a public safety issue. They do not wait for a plane to crash to test their employees.
Random testing of all doctors!
Also, we need a ban on secret settlements and we need to open the National Practitioner's Data Bank.
Exactly...the data banks for information on physicians is at best, generic. I am a victim of a botched plastic surgery and my recoarse is a very diffiult process. I was the foolish one that allowed the same doctor to do once again a surgery that has left me scarred both physicall and mentally. But I do intend on pursuing a suit if it takes me forever. Living with absolute shame of myself, difigurement, scars beyound what was necessary and so much more should account for negligence from a physican that is scripted as board certified, and hardly a back room, basement butcher. Watch the bedside manner, you can be blindsided by it.......I do intend on following through,
plastics

East Rutherford, NJ

#12 Feb 7, 2008
Disgusting
exposem

Hartford, CT

#13 Feb 7, 2008
Patty wrote:
<quoted text>
Exactly...the data banks for information on physicians is at best, generic. I am a victim of a botched plastic surgery and my recoarse is a very diffiult process. I was the foolish one that allowed the same doctor to do once again a surgery that has left me scarred both physicall and mentally. But I do intend on pursuing a suit if it takes me forever. Living with absolute shame of myself, difigurement, scars beyound what was necessary and so much more should account for negligence from a physican that is scripted as board certified, and hardly a back room, basement butcher. Watch the bedside manner, you can be blindsided by it.......I do intend on following through,
I've heard of a cream called "Elicina" which is supposed to be excellent for scars.

Good luck to you on your lawsuit. There is a group called T.A.M.E. which stands for "Talk about medical experiences." They say they will help if you have trouble enforcing your rights. It's really like the Mafia out there!

Doctors have even had blackball lists of Plaintiffs that they share with each other. One of them, which is now defunct was called "Doctorknow.us" and it was started in Texas, which is a state where doctors have their beloved malpractice caps. So you see, the caps make no difference in their irresponsibility. You could probably still access that website through a website that archives dead websites.

Here in Connecticut, our medical board was nearly abolished by someone in our health department named Norma Gyle. She wanted it abolished because doctors protect doctors. After she said that the medical board tried to get her fired!

I hope your doctor has enough decency to apologize and offer you a settlement without the issue being forced.

Good luck to you! You are in my prayers.
friend form Mtl

Ottawa, Canada

#14 May 11, 2013
testing
friend from McGill

Cambridge, Canada

#15 May 11, 2013
I just heard the shocking news 2 days ago. I knew Ian from the McGill surgical residency days. I have such fond memories of him. He was a kind & compassionate doctor who showed nothing but the utmost respect for his patients. I worked with him in the Emerg room night shifts. Not only did he have impeccable bedside manners, he was so caring towards me. While other seniors residents were outright nasty, arrogant & self-centered, Ian always found the time to make me feel at ease & important. While senior residents wanted something in return for their help, Ian's kindness was unconditional. He was so warm & considerate. One time he popped out of nowhere to help me treat a patient whom I was at a loss what to do. He was not even on duty that day! Last time I saw him was in 1990, during the Principles of Surgery exam. During the lunch break, he spent extra time to give me tips instead of going off to study on his own. I question whether he made the right decision to leave Montreal to pursue a career in Plastics. He should have stuck with his original choice of Orthopedics. Ian was best when he treated patients with serious disease due to his empathy & compassion. Can his friends from VT or CT tell me if he was truly happy with his career choice? How did he get derailed like that? He was full of energy & enthusiasm when I knew him. Ian was truly a apecial & wonderful person. I will miss him so much. I deeply regret losing contact with him.

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