A Virginia doctor was arrested Friday after he allegedly carried out a series of unnecessary hysterectomies and other invasive procedures on women who were shocked to discover what had happened to them.
Javaid Perwaiz, a 69-year-old obstetrician and gynecologist practicing in Chesapeake, was charged with health care fraud and making false statements to federal investigators, according to an arrest affidavit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia last week.
But the Federal Bureau of Investigations had been probing accusations against him ever since a fellow hospital worker flagged a string of concerning procedures more than a year ago.
After that tip, investigators soon uncovered that Perwaiz once allegedly removed one of his patient’s fallopian tubes without her knowledge. She allegedly continued to try to get pregnant for three years before a fertility specialist told her it would be impossible for her to conceive naturally since her fallopian tubes were “burnt down to nubs,” according to the affidavit.
In another instance, a patient explicitly told Perwaiz she didn’t want a hysterectomy and would prefer to have her ovaries removed, instead, since she allegedly was advised that the “onset of cancer was imminent.” Perwaiz performed a total hysterectomy, anyway, allegedly perforating her bladder in the process, leaving her hospitalized for days with an infection. She told investigators she was unsure whether Perwaiz was ever telling the truth about precancerous cells, as her surgery was described as “elective” in her medical records.
Perwaiz also allegedly removed the uterus of a woman whom he described as having chronic pelvic pain. She told investigators she didn’t have any of those symptoms, and that she felt pressured to get the hysterectomy. Investigators were told that Perwaiz allegedly spooked women into more invasive procedures by mentioning cancer, although several of his patients didn’t know what surgeries they were even subjected to when they came back to post-operative appointments.
After Pewaiz’s arrest was made public, other unnamed, former patients came forward to the Virginian-Pilot to say the doctor, who was otherwise kind, often ordered surgeries that seemed suspect. His former patients have been encouraged to contact 1-800-CALL-FBI. In the meantime, he’s being held at a regional jail until his detention hearing in Norfolk Thursday.
Perwaiz is an independent physician but maintained affiliations with two hospitals in the area: Bon Secours Maryview Medical Center and Chesapeake Regional Medical Center. The hospitals’ websites no longer mention any affiliations with him, although Bon Secours’ website previously said his “surgical skills are unparalleled,” according to the Pilot.
Doctors with admitting privileges are not on the payroll of the hospital or formally considered employees.
His attorney, Lawrence H. Wood Jr., didn’t respond to a VICE News request for comment.
Perwaiz has been involved in at least eight malpractice lawsuits, according to the New York Times, and lost his admitting privileges at another area hospital in 1982 on allegations that he had poor clinical judgement and carried out unnecessary surgeries. The state’s board of medicine also investigated the unnecessary surgery allegations. His medical license was also revoked at one point, then reinstated in 1998, according to the Times.
Cover: Dr. Javaid Perwaiz (Credit: Western Tidewater Regional Jail)