Medscape names the best and worst physicians of 2016

Throughout 2016, physicians across the globe put themselves in danger to help patients, worked to tackle the world's health crises and advocated for preventing sexual harassment in the workplace. Other physicians committed unethical crimes and brought disgrace to the profession.

Medscape took an in-depth look at the biggest accomplishments and mistakes in 2016 and named the "best," "worst" and — for the first time — the "neither best nor worst" physicians of the year. Two physicians were dubbed "neither best nor worst" because although they made news, "the final decision in their cases is yet to come," according to Medscape.

"Best" physicians of 2016

  • Mona Hanna-Attisha, MD. Dr. Hanna-Attisha leads the Pediatric Public Health Initiative, a multidisciplinary task force that works to diminish the harm done to children in Flint, Mich., due to lead-contaminated drinking water. She was named one of Time's Most Influential People in 2016.
  • Jasmine Sulaiman, MD. When Dr. Sulaiman moved to Cleveland, Texas — population 7,700 — the only hospital in the area had just closed. She opened a 24/7 health clinic in an old flower shop, which grew into Health Center of Southeast Texas. In addition, Dr. Sulaiman launched a program to improve healthcare at the county jail.
  • Denton Cooley, MD. Dr. Cooley, a world-renowned surgeon and the first to implant an artificial heart in a human, died this year at 96 years old. During his career, he performed the first successful heart implant in the U.S., founded Houston-based Texas Heart Institute and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
  • Denis Mukwege, MD. Dr. Mukwege, a 61-year-old gynecologist from the Democratic Republic of Congo, specializes in treating females who have been gang raped by the Congolese military and rebel forces. He founded and works in Bukavu, East Congo-based Panzi Hospital and has treated more than 45,000 rape survivors throughout his career.
  • Brett Ohlfs, MD. This fall, a jury awarded $1 million to Dr. Ohlfs, who said his former hospital, Oak Lawn, Ill.-based Advocate Christ Medical Center, fired him in 2011 for reporting that another physician was sexually harassing female residents. Though he now works at Redding, Calif.-based Shasta Regional Medical Center, he told Medscape he is "still kind of the black sheep."
  • Henry Barnett, MD. Dr. Barnett, a renowned neurologist and stroke prevention researcher, died this year at 94 years old. During his career, he cofounded London, Ontario, Canada-based Robarts Research Institute, served as president of the International Stroke Society and was inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame.
  • Ruth Anne MarDock, MD. In June, a 6-foot, 213-pound male patient attacked Dr. MarDock while she was working at Dallas-based Timberlawn Mental Health System. After being thrown to the ground, Dr. MarDock lost consciousness and died two days later. "Her death highlights the threat of workplace violence directed against healthcare workers, particularly in inpatient psychiatric facilities," Medscape noted.
  • Kevin Morton Jr., DO. In 2007, Dr. Morton, a then-22-year-old college student, was fatally shot while sitting in his car. He was given a 10 percent chance of survival, but Dharti Sheth-Zelmanski, MD, and her team at Detroit-based St. John Hospital worked through the night to save his life. The experience inspired Dr. Morton to go on to medical school, and this year he earned his degree from East Lansing-based Michigan State University's College of Osteopathic Medicine.
  • Donald Ainslie Henderson, MD. Dr. Henderson, the dean of Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins School of Public Health from 1977 to 1990, died this year at 87 years old. An epidemiologist, he directed the World Health Organization vaccination effort to eradicate smallpox across the globe. During his career, Dr. Henderson received the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the National Medal of Science.
  • Paula Pareto, MD. Dr. Pareto, who stands at 4 feet, 9 inches tall, won her first gold medal in judo at this year's Rio Olympics. But this wasn't her first Olympic feat — halfway through her academic career, she competed in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and won a bronze medal. She received her degree from the University of Buenos Aires in Argentina.
  • Philip Katz, MD. Dr. Katz, a gastroenterologist, was 60 years old and had no severe medical history in 2013. But one October evening that year, he had a cardiac arrest. Dr. Katz immediately went from physician to patient. "My view from the other side of the bed has given me insight into a part of medicine that I'd never experienced," Dr. Katz said at the American College of Gastroenterology 2016 Annual Scientific Meeting. "I actually think I'm alive because of everything good about our profession."

"Neither best nor worst" physicians of 2016

  • Stephanie Waggel, MD. Dr. Waggel, a former psychiatry resident at Washington, D.C.-based George Washington Hospital, is suing her former employer over alleged workplace discrimination that occurred after she was diagnosed with kidney cancer. According to the lawsuit, the hospital allegedly started to "engage in a pattern of discriminatory conduct" against Dr. Waggel after her diagnosis. She began her residency in 2014 and was dismissed — and thereby fired — May 2016.
  • Dr. Ketan Desai. Dr. Desai, a trained urologist based in India, was selected as future president of the World Medical Association in 2009. Soon after, alleged conspiracy and corruption allegations against him came out. Though the court case against Dr. Desai is ongoing, he delivered his inaugural speech as president this year and will serve in the role for 2016-2017.

"Worst" physicians of 2016

  • Anthony Joseph Garcia, MD. This fall, a jury charged Dr. Garcia with four counts of first-degree murder, which prosecutors claimed he committed as revenge after being fired from Omaha, Neb.-based Creighton University's pathology department in 2001. Dr. Garcia was convicted for murdering Thomas Hunter, the 11-year-old son of William Hunter, MD, who fired Dr. Garcia, as well as Shirlee Sherman, the Hunter family's housekeeper. He was also convicted for the murders of Roger Brumback, MD, who played a role in Dr. Garcia's firing, and his wife, Mary.
  • Anthony Moschetto, DO. Dr. Moschetto, a cardiologist, pleaded guilty this year to setting fire to a rival physician's office and conspiring to have him beaten up. But Dr. Moschetto's past goes deeper than that — prosecutors claimed a police investigation uncovered Dr. Moschetto's murder-for-hire plot targeting an unnamed fellow cardiologist. When police searched Dr. Moschetto's home, they found around 100 weapons, most of which were stored in a secret room behind a moving bookshelf.
  • Hsiu Ying "Lisa" Tseng, DO. In 2015, Dr. Tseng was charged with murder for overprescribing drugs that resulted in a patient's death. In February of this year, she was sentenced to 30 years to life in prison. Over a three-year period, Dr. Tseng's office took in more than $5 million while nine of her patients died.
  • Alfred Ramirez, MD. Dr. Ramirez was accused of illegally prescribing 10,000 tablets of oxycodone, occasionally from his gold Lexus. Dr. Ramirez, who would charge patients between $150 and $400 in cash, pleaded not guilty to illegally distributing oxycodone, alprazolam and other drugs. This fall, he was found dead in his home. Police did not find signs of foul play.
  • Farid Fata, MD. Known as "Dr. Death," Dr. Fata, an oncologist, was convicted of giving chemotherapy and other drugs to at least 533 patients, some of whom did not have cancer. During his scheme, he scammed Medicare and raked in more than $17 million. Dr. Fata is currently serving a 45-year sentence in a South Carolina federal prison.
  • Michael Reinstein, MD. This spring, Dr. Reinstein, a psychiatrist, was ordered to pay $592,000 and sentenced to a nine-month prison sentence. He was accused of accepting thousands of dollars in drug industry kickbacks. He promoted brand-name drugs before generic drugs to elderly patients in nursing homes and received payment in the form of entertainment, consulting fees and all-expenses-paid vacations.
  • Diana Anda Norbergs, MD. Dr. Norbergs is the former owner and operator of Palm Harbor, Fla.-based East Lake Oncology, a cancer treatment clinic. This year, she was convicted of smuggling unapproved drugs into the U.S., giving them to patients and charging Medicare for more expensive versions. She's currently facing a prison sentence of more than 500 years.
  • Tressie Duffy, MD. Dr. Duffy practiced at Martinsburg-based West Virginia Weight and Wellness, a family medicine clinic. She was sentenced to 366 days in jail and a $18,200 penalty for pleading guilty to seven felonies of illegal oxycodone distribution. This isn't the first time Dr. Duffy's been in hot water — she'd been censured three times by the West Virginia Board of Medicine.

More articles on integration and physician issues:
This volunteer cuddled babies in UT Medical Center's NICU for 20 years
Demand for clinicians serving transgender youth on the rise: 5 things to know
DMC wants long relationship with Wayne State despite dean's words 

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