I’m mad as hell

So you get to be the recipients of the madness.

Let’s start by saying that when I saw the trailer for the 60 Minutes report, I knew no good could come from it.

I’ve never been anything more than ambivalent about 60 Minutes.  Mom & dad like it (not so much anymore) but I really don’t care…not really a “news magazine” kinda gal.  But, Duke, Cancer Study, controversy…well, all were things I was NOT unaware of.  And I thought…no good can come from this.

Honestly, I’ve never met anyone who was involved in a 60 Minutes story before.  Suffice it to say, that is fine with me and I don’t care to, ever again.  I am NOT defending 60 Minutes.  Quite the contrary.  I believe they did the same kind of journalism in this case that all the sensationalist journalism outlets do.  Pray on your pity to carry the story, vilifying anyone in the wake of the “truth”.  Oh.  Truth…well, if it doesn’t enhance the WOW factor or raise eyebrows further…never mind the truth.

So, before my cruise, our oncologist was the focus of a 60 Minutes story.  Here’s the Huff Post link to the story on the story…and I guess the video is embedded in there:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/13/anil-potti-duke-cancer-fraud-university-research_n_1273264.html

I was distressed about the expose, however it was NOT news to me.  I read all about it online.  Go ahead.  Google Anil Potti.  Read the info from Duke.  It’s public knowledge.  I met the man, judged him based on his level of care for my dad and picked him over other doctors.  Yes, I totally trust him.  PRESENT TENSE.

Well, I was glad to see him in the office the Tuesday after the story aired.  I just wondered how long he’d be “invisible” since they posted the name of the cancer center on line.

Let’s make something clear:  Dr. Anil Potti was giving HIGH QUALITY care to his patients.  60 Minutes never ASKED any of the patients he was seeing about him.  None of us knew or were asked about what we thought of him.  He wasn’t doing anything fancy.  No magic studies.  Just chemotherapy.  That’s it.  But what he WAS doing was caring for the patient, the family and the well being of the overall group.  He approached his practice with this mindset:  What would I do if it were MY family member?  He told us that on multiple occasions.

60 Minutes does this “piece” on the study that he “fudged” numbers on.  (Sorry for the yucky grammar there).  It does sound bad.  And everyone is up in arms about him “lying” on his resume.  OKAY…STOP RIGHT THERE.  Take out your resume.  Please confirm to me that every line in it is not only true, but it is a verifiable fact.  I can call your boss, your previous bosses, I can test your knowledge.  You *are* exactly what you represent on your resume.  100%.  No stretch of the truth in any way.  If that’s so….you’re one person.  EVERYONE stretches the truth on their resume.  Come ON.

Today, I met with another doctor at the cancer center.  We brought up Dr. Potti.  The other doctor confirmed it was quite the raw deal that Dr. Potti, and the cancer center got.  Here are some interesting facts:

  • Duke knew about the 60 Minutes piece but never reached out to “warn” anyone of what they were saying.
  • 60 Minutes also never warned anyone…we’re really a pretty small town down here.  It’s kinda devastating to a whole community to take out someone who is treating the community…not like NYC where every 3rd person is an oncologist…
  • Duke was actually kinda “fighting” with another area university cancer center about this study.
  • Dr. Potti only admitted 3 patients to the study in question.  Two of them are still alive.  The woman mentioned in the expose was terminal.  Not that I want anyone to die…but she was at the end of her time.
  • Oh, did I mention that Dr. Nevins, the “appalled” doctor on screen admitted the rest of the 115 or so patients.
  • Although the state of South Carolina revoked Dr. Potti’s privileges to practice medicine, they reinstated them two days later.
  • Best of my knowledge, the state of North Carolina has NOT revoked privileges at all.

None of Dr. Potti’s patients complained about the care they received.  However, the cancer center could not keep up with the volume of “hate email” they received.  That’s just totally cool.  So all of you who sent hate email to them…SHAME ON YOU!  I mean…You’ve basically turned my dad’s cancer care on it’s ear.

The new oncologist is fine.  He is very nice.  However, he doesn’t know my dad like Dr. Potti does.  Dr. Potti wanted my dad to get well so that he could sing for him…he wanted my dad to get well so that he’d enjoy eating again.

There are times in life where you should not have to go through upheaval.  During cancer treatment is one of them.  Now, if Dr. Potti was actually harming people.  Doing damage…truly harming ANYONE, I would say to remove him from the picture.  Please.

I’ve never met anyone who thought Dr. Potti was doing them harm.  Okay.  One patient died.  Guess what.  We’re all gonna die.  Some sooner than others.  Some because of this horrible disease.

Even the nimrod from Duke said that he didn’t believe that Dr. Potti did anything for the “love of making money” although the reporter (geez, it was Scott Pelley…shame on you Scott Pelley!  SHAME!  CHECK YOUR FACTS AGAIN!) tried to get someone to say that was the driving force.  Dumbass from Duke actually said that Dr. Potti’s driving desire was to HELP PEOPLE.  Hmm.  A doctor that wants to HELP PEOPLE.  Wow.  That’s news.

So, why am I blogging?  I want justice – in that I want a doctor that went out of his way to help my dad and my family recognized for what he did in HELPING PEOPLE.  Instead of having the world question why I would “entrust” him with caring for my dad…I want the world to know that he is a GOOD doctor.  With his patients needs clearly at heart.  Go to the local doc in the box and tell me that you feel the same way about the doctor you see.  Step into a hospital and tell me that you don’t feel as if you’re a number or a bar code.

Dr. Anil Potti NEVER made us feel like that.  And, by the way, his cancer was being managed.  Not cured.  There’s no cure for cancer, in case you haven’t heard.

Maybe the power of Social Media can compel 60 Minutes to come back and do an expose of what REALLY happened…and maybe apologize to the multiple cancer patients (well over the 3 that Dr. Potti admitted to the study in question) helped by this wonderful man.

I say maybe CBS needs to re-visit what 60 Minutes does.  If nothing else, we deserve the opportunity to speak our piece, since his “detractors” got their moment in the sun.



About maryaquino

Food, rock and roll and greyhound lover
This entry was posted in Crazy Random Thoughts and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to I’m mad as hell

  1. Great blog, Mary. I saw the piece (I believe in the Huffington Post) and while I thought that fudging the numbers was a trifle unethical, I didn’t actually think that he wasn’t still trying as hard as he could to help people. I applaud you for speaking your mind on this subject.


  2. Bravo Mary!!! These “news” shows are such a sham and I agree that CBS should do this story right! I strongly doubt it will happen because the true story is not sensational! It also is not one that has the fear factor that the “news” has to have in all their stories.


  3. Ian says:

    Interesting perspective. Thanks for sharing. A few of the facts are a little off though. Dr. Nevins is a PhD and is not licensed to practice medicine so he did not enroll any patients in the three clinical trials in question. Dr Potti’s “errors” on his resume were submitted as part of his applications for grants from the American Cancer Society and the National Institutes of Health. Those applications were judged, in part, based on the applicant’s resume so it was a little more than common dishonesty. It might be interpreted as fraud, which is why the ACS requested that the grant money Dr. Potti received be returned (and why Duke returned it, even though some of it had already been spent by Dr. Potti). I am glad you and your father had a good experience with Dr. Potti. Clearly, that is one possible (perhaps even common) outcome for his patients but don’t you think it is reasonable for future prospective patients of Dr. Potti to know of his prior problems rather Dr. Potti hiring an online reputation manager to try to suppress them? That way, future patients could read stories such as yours and those of others and decide for themselves whether to hire Dr. Potti.


    • maryaquino says:

      Hey Ian-

      Thanks for clearing up the info on Dr.Nevins…and for commenting. My blog is more of a rant after being told (second-hand info…nothing I know as fact)…!and I whole-heartedly feel that prior to receiving care from ANY doctor, you should see as many sides as possible. I googled Dr. Potti (and our other options) prior to starting care with him. If we learn anything at all, I hope we learn that there are many sides to a story. And what I see as “bad” may not be what you see as bad. And that’s okay. I still do not believe that Dr. Potti deserves the vilification he had received and that is MY opinion…I hope to get some more fact checking back from other sources…but I don’t think it will change my opinion. I was thoroughly satisfied with the level of care received..much moreso than the level received from some other doctors in this same area. Sorry for any typos-I’m replying on my phone. 🙂


  4. maryaquino says:

    Just as a side note to this blog, which it seems someone has been searching out – 45 days AFTER this post, my father died. The cancer center never followed up with us until about 10 days before his death. I don’t know if continuing to work with Dr. Potti would have kept him alive longer…all I do know is, without him, no one seemed to care that much about him.

    If you want to know what I’ve learned..it is up to YOU (whoever is in charge of caring for a family member or friend with cancer) to do research on the medical professionals with whom you entrust the cancer patients care. Google the doctor’s name. Read about the doctor. Published articles, etc. Then, meet the doctor/medical practitioner. Who gives the best, most caring advice and help? Fight hard. Fight hard for the rights of the patient. And pray.


  5. D.C.McPhail says:

    I am a current patient of Dr. Potti. My wife and I feel very confident that I am receiving treatment at the ND Cancer Center that would not be available anywhere else.


    • Ian says:

      Yes, there are not many cancer treatment facilities that employ a physician who has been accused of scientific misconduct and has about a dozen malpractice settlements to his name. It appears that many of the patients treated in Dr. Potti’s trials at Duke felt exactly as you do, until they found out that Dr. Potti allegedly faked data. I wonder if you or his other current patients would know if he did the same or similar in the context of clinical cancer care.


      • maryaquino says:

        Ian, perception is reality. I knew Dr. Potti’s situation when I first began assisting my parents in making decisions about treatments. I know how to google. And, I honestly paid attention to the care being given…It was stage 4 cancer and never once were we promised he would live forever, or lied to. I knew that he would die. I was looking for quality of life. Dr. Potti provided decent quality of life and acted as if he cared about my dad. Did he fudge numbers at Duke? Probably. Did he give poor care to the hundreds of patients we saw every week when we went to the cancer center? Absolutely NOT. Did we receive poor care AFTER he was fired? Absolutely. My perception of Dr Potti is based on the REALITY of how we were treated as a family and the care my dad received from him. It is not based on what happened in Dr. Potti’s past or on someone else’s experience.


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