Dr. Paul Perito has responded to our story which detailed another lawsuit stemming from allegedly destroying a patient's penis, the second time he's been hit with such a suit. We also chronicled past criminal charges against the urologist in which he was accused of selling counterfeit pills out of a strip club and dabbling in the use of ketamine.
Shocker: He did not like the story.
We were forwarded what appeared to be the second, third, and fourth parts of a bar complaint filed against Spencer Aronfeld, the attorney who has sued Perito in both lost-penis cases -- both of which I have written about.
"Not only does he try to prejudice and influence pending cases," Perito claims of Aronfeld, "but he seems to be using and sensationalizing the personal tragedy of others to attract additional clients by means of making false and ill-informed public statements."
He then lambasts an "apparently symbiotic relationship" between Aronfeld and myself, and quotes a bio I used for a convention: "Roberts characterizes himself as someone who 'makes his living mining for weirdness, depravity and excess' and the New Times is a free periodical that advertises escorts and pill-mills."
But at least according to the Florida Bar, Perito has not actually filed this complaint against Aronfeld.
Neither the attorney (see update) nor the doctor responded to my requests for comment. Perito's own lawyer, Bill Petros, declined to comment on the complaint but did say: "You printed an article that is totally devoid of the truth."
Update: Aronfeld told us this morning: "Dr. Perito is entitled to his own opinion, and we'll let the men and women who are sitting on the jury decide whether his treatment of Hank [the most recent plaintiff who has sued Perito] was appropriate."
Here is the email in its entirety:
PART TWO: The specific thing or things I am complaining about are:
Attorney Spencer Aronfeld ("Aronfeld") has engaged in a pattern of making sensationalistic and false statements to media outlets in order to (1) recruit clients and (2) garner publicity and manipulate public sentiment in favor of existing personal injury plaintiffs.
To date, Aronfeld has benefitted from the unfortunate fact that for physicians, such as me, settling frivolous lawsuits is often less expensive than defending them. However, the practice of settling frivolous malpractice claims is medically detrimental to the public in the long run because erroneous medical information is often disseminated when unethical plaintiff attorneys seek self serving publicity. Further, as malpractice insurance carriers and physicians treat settling meritless lawsuits as simply the cost of doing business, those costs are ultimately passed on to the consumer and add to the growing health care crises. This practice is also a disservice to those with legitimate claims, as the many frivolous lawsuits are used as an excuse by tort reform advocates who seek to limit damages in personal injury cases. Accordingly, I have outlined Aronfeld's unethical conduct below.
Aronfeld has filed two cases against me in the past three years, both of which involve claims that his clients lost their penis; a topic he most certainly knows is likely to garnish lurid public and media interest. In the first instance he made comments to several television and print news sources, and included video of his client as well the client's brother and me. The statements by his client's brother were created and filmed in Aronfeld's office, with Aronfeld translating from Spanish to English, so there can be no doubt that he orchestrated the media interview. At least one of the news clips depicts Aronfeld claiming that the only way to deal with me is a lawsuit and then marching, with papers, up the stairs of what appeared to be the courthouse as if he was going to physically file a complaint at that very moment. The scene was most certainly staged, as the building was actually the Coral Gables municipal building and not the courthouse. This case was settled for a "nuisance" fee with no admission of guilt because I personally could not endure the ongoing media blitz put on by Aronfeld's office, not to mention the cost of defending myself.
Of particular concern is the apparently symbiotic relationship between Aronfold and a reporter for the Miami New Times, Gus Garcia Roberts ("Roberts"). Roberts characterizes himself as someone who "makes his living mining for weirdness, depravity and excess" and the New Times is a free periodical that advertises escorts and pill-mills. Roberts wrote a salacious article about Aronfeld's initial case against me entitled, "Dude Where's my Schlong?" In that article, Robert's primary source is Aronfeld.
In a second article by Roberts, he chronicled an educational tour I was on teaching Urologists in Australia wherein, Aronfeld was again quoted, stating that he was puzzled by how I was allowed to operate and educate physicians in Australia. In yet another article written about me by Roberts today, he focuses on Aronfeld's second case against myself and other physicians. Again, Aronfeld and his client are prominently featured. The first online response to the article, only hours after its release online and before the print publication, is a TWEET from the office of Aronfeld soliciting business from this article. Coincidentally, other articles by the same reporter featuring Aronfeld are framed in Aronfeld's office. The relationship between Aronfeld and Roberts has all appearances of not being arm's length.
In the most recent case that he has filed against me, Aronfeld solicited the pre-suit medical opinion from a physician based upon a fraction of the medical record. Upon receipt of the pre-suit statement outlining the alleged malpractice, it was clearly stated that the opining physician did not have access to the full medical record. Through counsel I alerted Aronfeld that his client, a state prisoner, had been seen in several facilities. A review of the full medical record in conjunction with his pre-suit medical statement clearly reflects that Aronfeld filed the lawsuit against me without any evidence of malpractice on my part (or for that matter, the other defendants). The pre suit correspondence between my counsel and Aronfeld with respect to the missing medical records (nearly all pertaining to me) are available.
Aronfeld's conduct in my case is by no means an isolated incident. He is commonly seen on television, and he has posted hundreds of videos on the internet mentioning his pending cases and engaging in similar conduct. Public statements were made in December 2010 in connection with the death of a woman who had literally just died during a plastic surgery procedure and a medical opinion had yet to be rendered. Not only does he try to prejudice and influence pending cases, but he seems to be using and sensationalizing the personal tragedy of others to attract additional clients by means of making false and ill-informed public statements.
As a urologist, I find the most disturbing aspect of his conduct to be his public statements concerning the standard of care for diabetic men, which, by virtually all standards of professional care, were false. He stated: "The problem is that Mr. Milla has uncontrolled diabetes and it is absolutely, 100 percent, contraindicated - which means it should not be done on anyone with uncontrolled diabetes because diabetics have a rate of infection higher than people who don't have diabetes."
Enclosed you will find the definitive article proving that this public statement is not founded on evidence-based medicine. Thus, not only was his conduct unprofessional, it was morally reprehensible in that the misinformation he spread in furtherance of his case may very well cause people who would otherwise benefit, to forgo a potentially necessary surgical procedure. This includes patients suffering from prostate cancer or juvenile diabetes, rendered impotent from their disease. Indeed, Aronfeld was disseminating incorrect medical advice as fact while the literature clearly states the opposite. In the eyes of my peers and other health care professionals he appears to be offering medical advice without a license. Statistics and peer review articles authored by myself and other specialists corroborating this statement can also be provided for your review.
It should be noted that Perito Urology is considered the top tertiary referral center in the world for teaching and surgical treatment of erectile dysfunction, despite todays quote by Aronfeld implying his superiority to the Florida Department of Health and FDLE: "It's tough to fathom what Dr. Perito would have to do to finally revoke his license."
As a busy practitioner, it is tempting to once again pay off Aronfeld and go on with treating my patients; however, I feel an obligation to at least make the Florida Bar aware of Aronfeld's unseemly and unethical conduct so as to protect other physicians and patients from undo harm as a result of one attorney's quest for economic gain. I hereby request that Aronfeld be appropriately investigated and disciplined by the Florida Bar.
PART THREE: The evidence in support of my allegations is the following news articles and news clips, which depict Aronfeld making false and unprofessional remarks about his case against me. These are just a few of the articles and news clips. A quick search of the internet reveals hundreds of videos and articles wherein Aronfeld has engaged in similar conduct.
(Note some of the above links have expired since initially published, although I believe that, with further inquiry, the articles may still be available from the original source.)
PART FOUR: Under penalty of perjury, I declare the foregoing facts are true, correct and complete.
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Paul E. Perito, MD FACS