Medscape names best, worst physicians of 2018

In its annual roundup of the best and worst physicians of the year, Medscape recognizes medical professionals who represented the brightest and darkest of their profession, and made news for these reasons in 2018.

Below is a sampling of physicians named to the best and worst categories in 2018. To review the full 2018 class for Medscape's series, click here.

Best

  • Arti Hurria, MD: Dr. Hurria was seen as a "towering" and pioneering figure in geriatric oncology. Among her many titles and appointments, she served as the George Tsai Family Chair in Geriatric Oncology and director of the Center for Cancer and Aging at City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center in Duarte, Calif. Dr. Hurria died in an automobile accident in California in November.
  • 17 former U.S. Army psychiatrists: In November, 17 former U.S. Army psychiatrists gathered on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., for a ceremony hosted by the American Psychiatric Association. The ceremony honored them and nearly 200 of their peers for their service in the Vietnam War. The service served as a memorial and an apology to mental health professionals who had been overlooked during and after the war.
  • Daniel Christidis, MD, PhD: Dr. Christidis was a trainee urologist at Austin Hospital In Melbourne, Australia. He died in November in a shark attack when on a sailing trip with 10 friends, most of whom were fellow medical professionals.
  • Three clinicians on a Delta Airlines flight: Aditya Shah, MD, an infectious disease specialist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.; Anne Hanson, a retired nurse; and Blake Tyra, an emergency medical technician, were all on a Delta Airlines flight from London to Minneapolis in March when the flight crew announced need for medical professionals. Each clinician helped a passenger who was experiencing a corneal melt and tended to him before the plane made an emergency landing in Shannon, Ireland, where he was taken to a hospital for emergency surgery.
  • Paul Farmer, MD, PhD: The National Academy of Sciences honored the physician and humanitarian with the Public Welfare Medal for his advancement of community-based treatment strategies that enable high-quality healthcare in resource-poor settings nationally and internationally.
  • Nunilo Rubio, MD: The Chicago endocrinologist was killed in a van crash just before a medical mission in the Philippines to bring surgical, medical and optical care to the poor. Dr. Rubio contributed to the Center for Diabetes and Endocrine Care at Presence Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center in Chicago, where he served as medical director for more than 25 years before retiring in 2015.
  • Milton Edgerton, MD: The surgeon who advanced plastic surgery for children and transgender patients died in May at age 96. A founder of the Plastic Surgery Research Council, he took on cases that other colleagues considered too risky or controversial, and he served as a teacher and mentor to scores of younger students as the top plastic surgeon at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore and then the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.

Worst

  • Larry Nassar: The former USA Gymnastics national team physician was sentenced in February to up to 125 years in prison after approximately 200 young women testified about the decades of abuse they experienced under his care. After his conviction, more than 150 federal and state lawsuits were filed against Larry Nassar.
  • George Tyndall: More than 400 women accused the Los Angeles-based University of Southern California gynecologist of sexual abuse. The USC reached a $215 million proposed settlement with the former patients and accusers. Mr. Tyndall was fired by the university in 2017 for inappropriate behavior and temporarily gave up his medical license in August.
  • Windell Davis-Boutté, MD: The Georgia Composite Medical Board immediately suspended the physician’s license in June. As she faced several malpractice lawsuits, the dermatologist made music videos while she performed medical procedures and posted them online.
  • Howard Gregg Diamond, MD: The principal physician at Diamondback Pain and Wellness Center in Sherman, Texas, pleaded guilty to federal drug distribution charges. His prescribing and distribution of painkillers contributed to the deaths of at least seven people.
  • Rogelio Lucas, MD: Dr. Lucas and his wife and office manager were sentenced to prison for running a prescription opioid pill mill in Manhattan's Upper West Side, which left more than 3 million oxycodone pills on the streets of New York City.
  • James Kauffman, MD: The New Jersey endocrinologist was charged with arranging the murder of his wife, April, who was shot dead in their home in 2012. In January, while awaiting trial for murder, he was found dead of an apparent suicide.
  • Gavin Awerbuch, MD: The Michigan pain clinic physician was sentenced to more than two years in prison in February after admitting he accepted sham speaker fees from Insys for prescribing Subsys — a fentanyl sublingual spray for cancer pain — without legitimate medical purpose.
  • Jerrold Rosenberg: The Rhode Island physician pleaded guilty to taking more than $188,000 in kickbacks disguised as speaker fees and creating false patient records to deceive insurers into covering Insys's Subsys pain medication. He surrendered his medical license and was ousted from his professorial post at Brown University in Providence, R.I.

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