Updated: Anil Potti out at Coastal Cancer Center; practice blames Duke for glowing recommendations
The development, first reported by Duke Check, follows a 60 Minutes segment last week focused on Potti and Duke. Duke Check also noted that a Myrtle Beach PR firm had promised a statement later today.
We called the oncology practice, who refered us to LHWH Advertising and Public Relations of Myrtle Beach. The PR firm tells us we’ll be getting a statement at about 2 p.m. Eastern, so check back here.
Update, 2:30 p.m. Eastern: Here’s the statement (our comments below):
Coastal Cancer Center Of Myrtle Beach Ends Relationship With Dr. Anil Potti
Letters Of Recommendation From Duke Were Key Factors In Original Hiring Decision
February 21, 2012, Myrtle Beach, S.C. – Dr. Anil Potti, MD is no longer associated with Coastal Cancer Center of Myrtle Beach, S.C. Dr. Potti, who saw patients primarily at Coastal Cancer Center’s Loris, S.C. and Brunswick County, N.C. facilities, served his final day on Feb. 21st. Potti originally joined Coastal Cancer Center as an oncologist in March 2011.
“A recent 60 Minutes story concerning an investigation of Duke University’s cancer research programs and Dr. Potti’s work there prompted many concerned people to contact Coastal Cancer Center with comments and questions,” said Lawrence B. Holt, Jr., MD, FACP, President of Coastal Cancer Center. “It has become obvious that this issue is going to take precious focus away from patient care. Coastal Cancer Center is staffed by incredibly caring people who want and need to concentrate on providing outstanding patient care.”
Coastal Cancer Center conducted a deep and thorough investigation of Potti’s credentials before hiring him. Potti received numerous letters of strong recommendation from key members of the medical community at Duke University where Potti had worked before coming to the Grand Strand.
“We received glowing references about Dr. Potti’s character and skills from the highest ranks of the Duke University School of Medicine and Duke University Medical Center,” said Holt. “We were assured by Duke Medical’s leaders that Anil was ‘outstanding in all categories,’ ‘had excellent clinical skills’ and that he had conducted himself at Duke with ‘honesty, integrity and humility.’ One Duke University director even went so far as to say he would be pleased to have Dr. Potti as the treating physician ‘if my own family had unfortunately contracted a cancer.’
Letters of recommendation came in from the chief of Duke Medical’s Division of Medical Oncology, the Chair of the Department of Medicine, the Director of Hematologic Malignancies Program, and several professors.Letters of recommendation came in from the chief of Duke Medical’s Division of Medical Oncology, the Director of Hematologic Malignancies Program, and several professors.
“During the time that Dr. Potti has been with us,” continued Holt, “he has been an exemplary physician whose caring ways have made him extremely popular with patients. We will miss him.”
During his time on staff at Coastal Cancer Center, Dr. Potti became an active part of the Grand Strand medical community, many of whom have reached out to him in the days since the 60 Minutes story aired.
“We have been touched and heartened by the outpouring of support for Anil that has come from the local medical community,” says Holt. “Like those of us at the Cancer Center, other physicians recognize him as an exceptional doctor and colleague.”
Dr. Holt and other Coastal Cancer Center physicians will personally assume the care of of Dr. Potti’s patients.
More information about Coastal Cancer Center is available online at http://coastalcancercenter.com.
Like many aspects of the Potti case, this statement is mind-boggling. The attempt to pin the blame on others — in this case, singling out a Duke official who, the release neglects to mention, has expressed regret at recommending Potti so highly — is par for the course in the whole Potti affair. This, of course, while claiming to have conducted a “deep and thorough investigation of Potti’s credentials.”
Really? Someone should make sure the Coastal Cancer Center has a subscription to The Cancer Letter. Wouldn’t hurt if they kept up with Retraction Watch, either.
Update, 4:30 Eastern, 2/28/12: We received this by email earlier this afternoon:
NEWS RELEASE CORRECTION RE DR. ANIL POTTI
February 28, 2012, Myrtle Beach, S.C. - This Media Advisory is to correct an error reported in a press release entitled “Coastal Cancer Center Of Myrtle Beach Ends Relationship With Dr. Anil Potti” that you received on February 22.
In a sentence regarding letters of recommendation received from various Duke University personnel, it was incorrectly stated that a letter was received from the Chair of the Department of Medicine.
In fact, the recommendation letter was sent to the Chair of the Department of Medicine from an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Duke University Medical Center.
That press release should have read:
“Letters of recommendation came in from the chief of Duke Medical’s Division of Medical Oncology, the Director of Hematologic Malignancies Program, and several professors.”
We apologize for the error.
We’ve made the corrections above using a strikethrough. The confession comes several days after the South Carolina Board of Medical Examiners admitted they erred in listing Potti’s medical license as “suspended” for a few hours last week.