It is no secret within the tightly regulated New Jersey medical community that the suspension of my license is a direct consequence of the vicious turf war between a small group of politically powerful and self interested neurosurgeons and the larger but less organized minimally invasive pain physicians(MIPP).
The unanswered question however is which neurosurgeon corrupted which physician on the medical board to bring about this 21st century equivalent of a lynching, an injustice that has hurt the healthcare of many and was intended to intimidate other MIPPs from developing high quality cost effective spinecare. An injustice that has led to the loss of jobs and material hardship in hard times for many of my employees and their families.
I completed medical school in London in 1988 and underwent extensive post graduate training in both the UK and US in the fields of general surgery, anesthesia and interventional pain and after returning to the US in September 2001my practice began to focus on treating patients with chronic pain syndromes. During these early years it became obvious to me that the very poor patient outcomes associated with spine surgery were due to the aggressive and invasive manner in which the procedures were performed, which motivated me to find a more effective way to help patients that would involve a lot less destruction of the body’s muscle and bone. I began to travel the world spending time with the pioneers and innovators in the emerging field of minimally invasive spine surgery and what I observed so impressed me that I brought these techniques back to the US and began to successfully apply them in the ambulatory surgical setting. From 2004 to 2012 my practice, New Jersey Spine and Rehabilitation, became widely known for its outstanding clinical record and patients would travel from across the country to be treated by Dr. Richard Kaul, as I was performing increasingly more complex cases with great success in a cost effective manner. As NJSR flourished I decided to use my skills and own monies to establish the Spine Africa Project, a 501 c 3 US based charity, that provides free healthcare and education to the patients and people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, an area of the world that has been wrecked with civil war and violence for the last 2 decades and was recently ranked 187 on the UN worst socio-economic. In addition I also donated a surgical center and my services to helping provide free care to US patients who did not have health insurance.
The philanthropic and business success garnered significant positive media attention and some not so positive attention from a small group of local neurosurgeons. They viewed my practice as an immediate financial threat as more and more patients started to opt for the minimally invasive spine surgery procedure that I performed, but what was even more alarming to this neurosurgical cabal was the fact that I was training other Interventional Pain Physicians and wanted to establish a Minimally Invasive Spine Fellowship which had the potential to drive them out of business for good. They had to find a way to take my medical license.
In 2008, I operated on Frances Kuren helping her to correct the painful problem from her previous surgery and multiple car accidents. The patient was able to walk the same day after the surgery and over the following weeks made an exceptional recovery. About eight weeks later she tripped on a fish tank at home sustaining an injury to her left leg, a fact she did not disclose. After extensive testing the patient was told she would be referred for physical therapy and it was at this time she consulted with a neurosurgeon, named here as Dr. X (real identity withheld), who practices with the Atlantic Neuroscience Institute and at the UMDNJ in Newark NJ.
This was the perfect opportunity for Dr. X and his neurosurgical colleagues to execute their plan to revoke my medical license. Dr. X had a close friend and business associate on the medical board who would take care of the matter and Dr. X then advised Kuren to file a complaint with the medical board while also referring her to a personal injury attorney to commence a malpractice lawsuit.
In 2009, the medical board discussed the case with me, the attorney filed a lawsuit and NJSR continued to flourish helping many more people with spine pain using minimally invasive spine surgery. In 2011, I opened my own surgical center in Pompton Lakes, which made Dr. X’s clandestine efforts even more urgent. A back room discussion was had with his friend on the medical board and in April 2012 the medical board suspended my license, causing immense damage to the lives of many people and most importantly to the lives of my patients with no health insurance that had now been deprived of access to healthcare. I had for many years used my skills and resources to help families with no insurance and they were now without essential care because of a toxic combination of a neurosurgeon’s greed and a medical board member’s corruption.
Dr. X has inevitably been dragged into the Kuren legal proceedings and it took the threat of an arrest warrant to convince him to comply with the court ordered deposition, which will occur within the first 2 weeks of February. Dr. X has a checkered past which involves a case against him, wherein he operated and paralyzed a 35-year old man and was alleged to have lied about his credentials and training. The case found its way to the Supreme Court and Dr. X does not want to be reminded of those details at his deposition especially when he is now behind a corrupt board member in accusing me of not having the right credentials. Talk about pot calling the kettle black or more tellingly that people in glass houses, particularly Dr. X’s, should really not be throwing any kinds of objects let alone stones. What makes Dr. X’s conduct even more shocking is the fact that he authored an article in the 1990s, in response to criticism from orthopedic surgeons, arguing that neurosurgeons did not need spine fellowship training to place pedicle screws. Dr. X will wear whatever hat to protect his financial piece of the healthcare pie without any regard for the people that matter the most, the patients, and it is this exact same corrupt conduct that has led to the suspension of my medical license. I provide the following links for more detailed information.