Image source: Mugshots dot com
A friend of the blog just forwarded me a link to a CNN report on the latest grim development in the Zannos Grekos case, in which the Florida state medical board has now imposed an emergency suspension of his license after yet another patient died in his care. The Naples News further reports that the county sheriff is launching a criminal investigation into his (mal)practice. This time, an elderly patient is reported to have died during an illegal, expensive and unscientific procedure for pulmonary hypertension that Grekos advertises as involving processed stem cells he has named “regenocytes.”  The emergency action by the medical board follows their emergency restriction of his license last March, after a different elderly patient died within days after receiving a lethal injection of a purported stem cell concentrate at his hands. Before getting the stem cell itch, Grekos had previously killed another patient back in 1997*, through simple neglect. 

Don Margolis, griefer extraordinaire and Grekos’ business mentor, is going to have to start shopping for a new member for his advisory board. 

“Regenocyte Adult Stem Cell Therapy is safe, highly effective and presents minimal risk!” 
The identity of the deceased patient is being kept confidential for now, but the Lee County sheriff stated that he had traveled to Bonita Springs, where Grekos’ practice was located. I have no doubt that he was very sick already, and it is too soon to determine whether the cause of death was an embolism caused by whatever Grekos injected, or some other complication relating to the anesthesia, surgical stress, or plain old incompetence. 

But what is clear is that doctors who beguile the trusting with simplistic pseudoscience, who jeopardize and impoverish their patients in pursuit of easy cash, and who excuse their refusal to proceed cautiously and scientifically as a right protected in the practice of medicine, are no different from the quacksalvers of yore. These are not bold pioneers – we need to recognize them for the base and craven swindlers they are.  

*Note: a previous version of the post indicated that this death had taken place in 2001.
UPDATE (March 19, 2012): The Naples News has reported that Zannos Grekos’ latest attorney is asserting that the most recent patient death connected to Regenocyte was not from a stem cell injection, as the patient had only received a liopsuction (presumably to harvest what Grekos advertises as stem cells), and that the procedure was performed by a different physician at the clinic. It will be interesting to see what the Florida medical board and local law enforcement authorities make of these claims. The victim’s sister, however, is clear about who is to blame, saying about Grekos, “This guy needs to be stopped.”