Most every Friday afternoon, Dr. Javaid Perwaiz performed outpatient surgeries at a medical center in Suffolk.
And while there were lots of other doctors who operated regularly at the Bon Secours Surgery Center at Harbour View, there were none quite like Dr. Perwaiz, operating room nurse Jean Kennedy said.
His schedule was so packed and fast-paced the surgical center’s staff had a special name for it: the Perwaiz-a-thon.
“When someone asked you what are you doing today, staff would frequently say, ‘I’ve got the Perwaiz-a-thon,’” Kennedy said during testimony Monday in U.S. District Court in Norfolk. “It was an extremely busy tempo. Very stressful. At times it was chaotic.”
Perwaiz, 70, a longtime obstetrician-gynecologist who had offices in Chesapeake for decades, is on trial for multiple counts of heath care fraud, making false statements related to health care and identity theft. The trial began Wednesday and could last more than a month.
Prosecutors allege that Perwaiz frequently performed unnecessary surgeries and procedures, regularly induced labor for pregnant patients two weeks before they were due, and changed dates on forms to make it look like he was complying with insurance rules and regulations.
Kennedy testified Perwaiz typically had more than one operating room in use on Fridays and bounced back and forth between them. The other doctors just had one, she said.
And while the other doctors had their patients check in at staggered times, all of Perwaiz’s patients were told to report at the same time. Many of them didn’t seem to understand why they were having surgery, she said. And many had been there before.
“It was a first-come, first-serve basis,” she said. “There was no set schedule. It was just whoever was prepped and ready.”
The practice made Kennedy nervous because she feared it could lead to confusion and mistakes, she said.
Kennedy also said she occasionally saw the doctor write down post-surgery notes, in which he lists what he saw and did during the procedure, before the operation had even begun.
And unlike the other doctors, Perwaiz never used a scope with a camera on the end that could project images from inside the patient’s body onto a monitor for everyone in the operating room to see, she said.
Kennedy, who had once been a patient of Perwaiz and had worked in his office for a couple of years, said she and other hospital employees told supervisors of their concerns about Perwaiz’s unusual and concerning practices.
“They were fully aware,” she testified.
“And what happened?” prosecutor John Butler asked. “Nothing,” she said. “Things continued as they always had.”
In other testimony Monday, a 51-year-old former patient told jurors how she went to see Perwaiz after learning she had an abnormal pap smear. The woman had already survived breast cancer and feared getting cancer again.
The woman said Perwaiz performed one procedure, told her it didn’t work and that she’d need to get a hysterectomy. She said she was adamant about having it done vaginally because