Port St. Lucie dermatologist, Dr. Gary Marder, did not want to comment Friday on an $18 million settlement he agreed to after federal investigators accused him of wrongfully diagnosing patients with skin cancer, giving them unnecessary treatment and pocketing millions in profits.
Marder’s receptionist said he would comment at a later point and present his side of the story.
Gloria Strumalo was a former patient of Dr. Marder. She was diagnosed with skin cancer by Marder, given a month of radiation treatment and she underwent surgery.
She went to Dr. Ted Schiff for a second opinion.
“We’ve always seen issues (from Dr. Marder’s patients) but it seemed that over the past three to five years we would see more and more patients who had unusual diagnosis, diagnosis of cancer where we didn’t see where it was,” Schiff said.
Schiff said Marder’s patients would not have full medical records.
In 1998, Marder received disciplinary actions for similar issues.
Records indicate he was accused of failing to keep a written medical record, billing patient’s insurance company for procedures that weren’t performed and exercising influence on the patient for financial gain.
The petitioner asked for Dr. Marder’s medical license to be revoked but it wasn’t and is currently still active.
"It's disturbing," said Dr. Steven Rosenberg who is on the Florida Board of Medicine. "Shocking would mean that this is unique and unfortunately we have too many cases."
Rosenberg said it's not that simple to revoke a doctor's license. Someone has to first file a complaint with the board and bring sufficient evidence.
"There are many, many ways to legally maneuver and delay and it's not unusual for those cases to take several years," Rosenberg said.
Several years in which the doctor can continue to practice on patients.
"Its a major frustration for all the doctors on the board," Rosenberg said. "Here we are, trying to protect the citizens of Florida, and because of the due process laws, they allow the physician to practice for an extended period of time."
Schiff alerted the authorities who started to investigate Marder.
"This is so excessive and so wrong," Schiff said. "I hope the authorities take the proper action."
The Florida Department of Health cannot say whether they have received a complaint against Marder or if they have plans to take action against Marder. That can only be made public 10 days after probable cause was found.