US gynaecologist 'performed hysterectomies without consent'

Dr Javaid PerwaizImage source, Western Tidewater Regional Jail
Image caption,
Dr Perwaiz is charged with healthcare fraud and making false statements

A doctor accused of performing unnecessary surgeries on his unsuspecting patients has appeared in a federal court in Virginia.

Dr Javaid Perwaiz, an obstetrician-gynaecologist, lied to women about their health and caused them serious injury, according to the FBI.

Since his arrest on 8 November, more than 126 women have contacted officials to complain about his behaviour.

On Thursday, a US judge ordered Dr Perwaiz to be detained pending trial.

Dr Perwaiz, 69, is charged with healthcare fraud and making false statements about healthcare matters.

According to an FBI arrest warrant, he performed unnecessary surgeries on patients without their knowledge or permission.

Procedures included hysterectomies, tubal ligations, and dilation and curettage procedures. Dr Perwaiz has two offices in Chesapeake, Virginia, and admitting privileges at two hospitals.

According to the criminal complaint, between 2014-18 Dr Perwaiz operated on 40% of women of patients who receive Medicaid, a government health benefit for low income Americans.

Of that group of 510 patients, 42% had at least two surgeries performed.

The FBI was first alerted in September 2018 by a hospital employee who had heard from Dr Perwaiz's patients".

One woman discovered years after undergoing a procedure for endometriosis that "both fallopian tubes were burnt down to nubs", making it impossible for her to naturally conceive, according to the FBI.

Another patient who consented to having her ovaries removed awoke to discover that Dr Perwaiz had performed a total abdominal hysterectomy and perforated her bladder, causing sepsis that put her in hospital for almost a week.

"Witnesses also alleged Perwaiz routinely used the 'C-word' (Cancer) to scare patients into having surgery," FBI agent Desiree Maxwell wrote in the charging document.

A lawyer for Dr Perwaiz, Lawrence Woodward Jr, did not respond to a BBC call seeking comment on Thursday.

Dr Perwaiz attended medical school in his native Pakistan and received his medical licence in Virginia in 1980. Prosecutors say he has a history of disciplinary problems.

In 1982 he lost access to a hospital in Maryland due to "poor clinical judgment".

He was previously investigated by the Virginia Board of Medicine for performing surgeries "without appropriate medical indications and contrary to sound medical judgment", according to the FBI.

After pleading guilty to tax evasion in 1996, his medical licence was revoked for two years.