Rhode Island Doctor Accused of Abandoning 33,000 Patients To Run For Office In Nigeria

Now this is an interesting negligence case. An estimated 33,000 people in Rhode Island have been left without medical records after Dr. Nomate Kpea, a dermatologist, left for Nigeria to run for political office — leaving their files in foreclosed properties in the state.

One would think that abandoning patients and reneging on contracts would be viewed bad way to start a career in public service. Kpea had offices in Warwick, Providence, North Smithfield, Newport and Narragansett. The health department found that he simply abandoned his clients without making any preparations for her continued care or files. They suspended his license but that still leaves patients with no records unless they can be retrieved from foreclosed properties.

His attorney, Michael Sarli, reportedly did not respond to messages.

The bank has the records but has to be cautious since such records are protected under federal laws. The bank is eager to get the records into proper hands.
Kpea has been previously charged with malpractice including substandard care that led to two patients having “various severe complications.”

Kpea ran as a senate candidate in the oil-rich Rivers state of the Action Congress of Nigeria, but won only 17 percent of the vote.

He could now face not just medical license proceedings but negligence actions from his former patients.

Source: Boston.Com

15 thoughts on “Rhode Island Doctor Accused of Abandoning 33,000 Patients To Run For Office In Nigeria

  1. Sounds like these people are lucky he decided to abandon his practice. Maybe they should take it as a good thing & hope he wins election.

  2. It’s a bad situation, but I don’t think he had 33,000 patients. That would mean one dentist was treating 3 percent of the state’s population. It would also mean he was treating 16 people an hour assuming he worked 2000 hours a year. Seems unlikely.

  3. Who owns these records? The patient? If so why can’t the patient ask the foreclosing bank for their records?

    As for the bank, I wouldn’t want these records either. I am not an expert on patient privacy laws but I don’t think the bank’s employees can even look at these medical records without triggering HIPAA and who knows what other laws.

    Can they turn them over to the state licensing authority?

    Interesting issue from a RE law standpoint. In a foreclosure the lender can claim that any personalty left behind was abandoned by the borrower, cutting off the borrower’s rights in the proprerty.

    Here you have the borrower’s rights cut off, but not a third parties’ rights-his patients’. Of course in most cases when you foreclose against a doctor or other professional they’ve cleared out their records so this is not an issue.

    I know you’re busy and I am very appreciative of the work you put into this blog, Prof., but why teeth? He’s a dermatologist not a dentist. A picture of skin would have been appropriate and since I assume you have skin like the rest of us readily available [insert smily face].

  4. I can see all sorts of problems here. If the records are typical, they will not be filed by name, but by a coded patient account number. That will be in a computer file somewhere. Those records go back to 1985, so it is certainly reasonable to think 26 years of practice could generate 30,000 files. Do the math. Not all those patients will be found, but HIPAA regulations are very strict. My guess is the banks will have to hire some qualified records person to handle those files. Nancy is correct that not just anyone can look at them. This is a really big mess for everyone concerned. I hope his liquid assets are frozen so they can be tapped if there are lawsuits.

    Regarding Tom from R.I.’s observation on the number of patients. Given he was in practice 26 years in multiple locations, that works out to about 5.5 patients an hour, more or less. I assume not all of those are new patients, so the 33,000 probably represents the number of patient visits, not the number of patients. There is one other explanation. Some unscrupulous doctors actually bus in Medicare and Medicaid patients and run what is, for lack of a better term, insurance mills. If that is the case and he had a factory practice, 33,000 unique patients is possible.

  5. Now I am confused. Is he a dermatologist or a dentist? I agree that the number sounds off.

    Also not surprised his lawyer is not taking questions…aside from the privilege issues (which some lawyers ignore as soon as they see a microphone), I would guess the lawyer’s been stiffed and having this guy as a client does nothing for the lawyer’s reputation.

  6. Otteray Scribe-I would be shocked if this guy left any assets in the US- liquid or illiquid. I am sure the lender has written off the debt. No one in their right mind would consider pursuing this guy in Nigeria-the home of the 419 scam (reportedly Nigeria’s chief source of income). I remember reading about some poor idiot who flew to Nigeria to chase down the guy who scammed him out of $50K. He was never seen again.

  7. Nancy, I agree the chances of any liquid assets existing where they could be recovered is nil, but just on the off chance…..

  8. That number could be right on the money if Medicare/Medicaid fraud is being commited. But I would never suspect that, not from a guy from Nigeria. While, just the other day a very nice Nigerian fellow offered me half of his $3,000,000 inheritance. And those are U.S. dollars mind you, not Nigerian dollars. All I had to do was send him $500 and my Social Security Number. I should be getting my check any day now.

  9. Otteray Scribe said:

    “Some unscrupulous doctors actually bus in Medicare and Medicaid patients and run what is, for lack of a better term, insurance mills. If that is the case and he had a factory practice, 33,000 unique patients is possible.”

    Yes, indeed.

    And if the records of the Nat’l Practitioner Data Bank can be believed, (and which even they agree represents a mere tip of the daffy doc iceberg) the late, great USA has managed to spawn 21,000 of them over the last three decades.

    Just makes one proud to be an American.

  10. Nancy: “… He’s a dermatologist not a dentist. A picture of skin would have been appropriate and since I assume you have skin like the rest of us readily available [insert smily face].”
    ——–

    🙂 Have no doubt Nancy, there are those here that would welcome the Professor putting more “skin” on his blawg 🙂

  11. hahaha! pete !

    well, single payer healthcare would take care of this sort of thing….
    and the pill mills…
    and the swinging door medicine practices….
    all those grubs could find a more lucrative profession….

  12. Bush proved that you could fiscally bankrupt corporations, be morally bankrupt and still serve in an elected office….but not if you show your wiener….

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