“I feel like I was gullible and got duped into doing it,” said Dr. John Bowman as he timidly defended himself in front of the state’s medical board Friday morning.
“I'm apologetic and have been very self-critical and embarrassed,” he said, visibly distraught.
Bowman, a Boca Raton oral surgeon, is under the state's knife after admitting he inappropriately prescribed hormone and testosterone meds to nearly a dozen patients he never properly examined.
“I feel like I shouldn't be here. I got sucked into a situation that was bad,” he told the board.
According to state records between 2011 and 2013 Bowman worked a side gig for Key To Life Med Spa on Palm Beach. Bowman claims its owner, Thomas Tomas reeled him in promising $2,000/month to perform minor cosmetic surgery on clients. But Dr. Bowman claims he was rarely paid and the med spa’s clients weren't seeking surgery but pills.
“I feel like I was sort of used by them,” he said referring to the med spa owner.
“My biggest concern is that there are patients who are out there who have been harmed and continue to be harmed,” said Board Chair Dr. Steven Rosenberg, a dermatologist in West Palm Beach.
Rosenberg is now calling on the Florida Health Department to investigate, even subpoena the med spa’s records to determine if other patients may have been inappropriately prescribed testosterone and hormone pills. The medications have been known to increase libido in older patients. But more recent medical studies show testosterone and hormone medications taken by patient with normal levels can actually increase the risk of heart disease and prostate cancer.
The Contact 5 Investigators visited Key to Life Med Spa several times on Friday and left a message for owner, Thomas Tomas. The spa is open by appointment only during the summer. Tomas also owns Sweet Spot ice cream shop a few doors down from the med spa. Contact 5 Investigator Katie LaGrone spoke to Tomas’ wife, Jamie at the ice cream shop. She said she wasn’t aware of Bowman’s discipline and wouldn’t respond to his allegations. Thomas Tomas has not returned our calls for comment.
Key To Life Med Spa remains opened. Rosenberg fears what he thinks is still happening inside the med spa is a statewide problem growing out of control.
“It’s not just this one med spa that is doing things that may be potentially harming patients,” he said
Med spas remain unregulated in Florida.
"They continue to recruit doctors who are naive and not necessarily sophisticated about the problems their patients get into and they, as physicians, get into."
Dr. Bowman wouldn’t talk to the Contact 5 Investigators as he left the meeting.
He is the latest to pay the price for a problem, the Rosenberg says, patients pay for first.
“This is just the tip of the iceberg. This is a problem statewide,” he said.
Dr. Bowman, who has never been disciplined before, must now pay a $25,000 fine. He will be placed on probation for one year, be required to take a series of courses and will be permanently restricted from prescribing hGH, testosterone, HCG or similar medications. Dr. Bowman has been an oral surgeon in Florida for 11 years.