A New Jersey surgeon has had his license yanked over allegations he inserted used catheters into the rectums of at least five patients, state authorities say.
Dr. Sanjiv K. Patankar, who practices in East Brunswick, is accused of re-using catheters on multiple patients over the course of nearly a year because he ran out of catheters and replacement supplies were on backorder, the state's complaint says.
He allegedly instructed his assistants to wash the used catheters in soap and water, soak them in bleach solution for a half-hour, and then rinse and air dry them. Even when a catheter began breaking down from overbleaching, Patankar allegedly ordered his assistant to continue using it.
The catheters were used on patients undergoing anorectal manometry testing, which evaluates patients with constipation, fecal incontinence or other possible disorders that may involve the anorectal sphincter.
“It is appalling that a doctor would engage in such an unsanitary and dangerous practice,” said Attorney General Christopher Porrino. “Through his alleged conduct, Dr. Patankar has demonstrated a reckless disregard for public safety that placed countless patients at risk of communicable diseases.”
A committee of the State Board of Medical Examiners temporarily suspended the doctor's license Thursday, after a hearing that involved conflicting testimony from Patanker's medical assistants about the reuse of catheters. However, Porrino's office says, documents showed that 82 anorectal procedures were performed in Patankar's office between Jan. 1 and Nov. 30, 2017, and only five catheters were ordered during that time.
Patankar has been given 30 days to wind down, and can only practice in a hospital setting, the state says. He can try to appeal next month if he shows documents proving he ordered catheters that account for all 82 procedures he performed.
A message has been left with Patankar's attorney.
Patients who believe that they have been treated by a licensed health care professional in an inappropriate manner can file an online complaint with the State Division of Consumer Affairs by visiting its website or by calling 1-800-242-5846 (toll free within New Jersey) or 973-504- 6200.