NORFOLK —Javaid Perwaiz, the obstetrician-gynecologist accused of performing unnecessary sterilizations, billing for phantom medical procedures and inducing healthy pregnant women to deliver for his convenience, testified this week that he altered consent forms and changed due dates to benefit his patients, not line his pockets.
Perwaiz, who is charged with dozens of counts of health fraud, told jurors in U.S. District Court that he ignored congressionally mandated regulations requiring patients to wait 30 days after signing a sterilization consent form by having them sign an undated form. Instead, he backdated the forms, sometimes performing sterilizations within days of seeing a patient.
“Yes, I knew the 30-day requirement. I just couldn’t say no,” he said from the witness stand Thursday. “I’m an advocate for my patients.”
He said he performed the sterilizations in contradiction to the requirement to benefit his patients. Often, they had discussed sterilization with doctors who referred them. They told him, he testified, that their insurance would run out if he waited or that they could not get a ride or a babysitter on other dates. Asked during cross examination if he could name which of the patients in the indictments told him that their insurance was running out, Perwaiz could not.
Backdating forms is part of three broad categories of charges against Perwaiz. Prosecutors say he altered medical records to justify unnecessary surgery, often scaring women by mentioning the threat of cancer. They allege he changed due dates so he could induce women into labor on the Saturdays he was operating on other patients at Chesapeake Regional Medical Center. And they contend he billed insurers for office medical procedures done with broken equipment.
He is also charged with falsifying his application to health-care providers by omitting a felony conviction for tax fraud in 1996, which resulted in a brief suspension of his license, and failing to admit his loss of privileges at Maryview Hospital in 1983. Perwaiz, 70, has been jailed since his November arrest.
[doctor is accused of years of unnecessary hysterectomies. The women who trusted him want answers.]
In a full day of testimony, Perwaiz, led by defense lawyer Emily Munn, defended the care he gave to the two dozen patients named in the 61 counts against him. In case after case, she broadcast his medical charts and the form he filed with Chesapeake Regional Medical Center before surgery. The charts were identified by the initials of the women prosecutors charge he operated on unnecessarily — D.B., D.P., A.G., T.D.C., A.F., A.N. S.N., D.B.D — and by their age and the complaints they wrote down, which several women who testified previously said were false.
In case after case, Perwaiz explained that the complaints by the women — often pelvic pain, bleeding and cramping — justified his procedures. Often, he said, women asked him to be sterilized. In none of the cases of women named in the indictments, Perwaiz said, did he refer them to other doctors after finding evidence of cancer.
During cross examination