top of page

Medical turf wars and political corruption in New Jersey

It is no secret within the tightly regulated NJ medical community that the license suspension of Dr.Richard Kaul is a direct consequence of the vicious turf war between a small group of politically powerful and self interested neurosurgeons and the larger but less organized minimally invasive pain physicians(MIPP). The unanswered question however is which neurosurgeon corrupted which physician on the medical board to bring about this 21st century equivalent of a lynching, an injustice that has hurt the healthcare of many and was intended to intimidate other MIPPs from developing high quality cost effective spine care. An injustice that has led to the loss of jobs and material hardship in hard times for many of Dr.Richard Kaul’s employees and their families. Dr.Richard Kaul completed medical school in London in 1988 and underwent extensive post graduate training in both the UK and US in the fields of general surgery, anesthesia and interventional pain and after returning to the US in September 2001 his practice began to focus on treating patients with chronic pain syndromes. During these early years it became obvious to him that the very poor patient outcomes associated with spine surgery were due to the aggressive and invasive manner in which the procedures were performed, which motivated him to find a more effective way to help patients that would involve a lot less destruction of the body’s muscle and bone. Dr.Kaul began to travel the world spending time with the pioneers and innovators in the emerging field of minimally invasive spine surgery and what he observed so impressed him that he brought these techniques back to the US and began to successfully apply them in the ambulatory surgical setting. From 2004 to 2012 his practice, New Jersey Spine and Rehabilitation became widely known for its outstanding clinical record and patients would travel from across the country to be treated by Dr.Richard Kaul, who was performing increasingly more complex cases with great success in a cost effective manner. As NJSR flourished Dr.Kaul decided to use his skills and own monies to establish the Spine Africa Project, a 501 c 3 US based charity, that provides free healthcare and education to the patients and people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, an area of the world that has been wrecked with civil war and violence for the last 2 decades and was recently ranked 187 on the UN worst socio-economic. In addition he also donated his surgical center and services to helping provide free care to his US patients who did not have health insurance. The philanthropic and business success garnered significant positive media attention and some not so positive attention from a small group of local neurosurgeons. They viewed his practice as an immediate financial threat as more and more patients started to opt for the minimally invasive spine surgery procedure that Dr.Kaul performed, but what was even more alarming to this neurosurgical cabal was the fact that Dr.Kaul was training other Interventional Pain Physicians and he wanted to establish a Minimally Invasive Spine Fellowship which had the potential to drive them out of business for good. They had to find a way to take his medical license. In 2008 Dr.Kaul operated on Frances Kuren helping her to correct the painful problem from her previous surgery and multiple car accidents. The patient was able to walk the same day after the surgery and over the following weeks made an exceptional recovery. About 8 weeks later she tripped on a fish tank at home sustaining an injury to her left leg, a fact she did not disclose. After extensive testing the patient was told she would be referred for physical therapy and it was at this time she consulted with a neurosurgeon, Dr. Robert Heary, who practices with the Atlantic Neuroscience Institute and at the UMDNJ in Newark NJ. This was the perfect opportunity for Heary and his neurosurgical colleagues to execute their plan to revoke Dr.Kaul’s medical license. Heary had a close friend and business associate on the medical board who would take care of the matter, and Heary then advised Kuren to file a complaint with the medical board, while also referring her to a personal injury attorney by the name of John Hoyt to commence a malpractice lawsuit. In 2009 the medical board discussed the case with Dr.Kaul, Hoyt filed a lawsuit and NJSR continued to flourish helping many more people with spine pain using minimally invasive spine surgery. In 2011 Dr.Kaul opened his own surgical center in Pompton Lakes, which made Heary’s clandestine efforts even more urgent. A back room discussion was had with his friend on the medical board and in April 2012 the medical board suspended Dr.Kaul license causing immense damage to the lives of many people and most importantly to the lives of his patients with no health insurance that had now been deprived of access to healthcare. Dr.Kaul had for many years used his skills and resources to help families with no insurance and they were now without essential care because of a toxic combination of a neurosurgeon’s greed and a medical board member’s corruption. Heary has inevitably been dragged into the Kuren legal proceedings and it took the threat of an arrest warrant to convince him to comply with the court ordered deposition, which will occur within the first 2 weeks of February. Heary has a checkered past which involves a case against him, Howard vs UMDNJ, wherein he operated and paralyzed a 35 year old man and was alleged to have lied about his credentials and training. The case found its way to the Supreme Court and Heary does not want to be reminded of those details at his deposition especially when he is now behind a corrupt board member in accusing Dr.Kaul of not having the right credentials. Talk about pot calling the kettle black or more tellingly that people in glass houses, particularly Heary’s, should really not be throwing any kinds of objects let alone stones. What makes Heary’s conduct even more shocking is the fact that he authored an article in the 1990s, in response to criticism from orthopedic surgeons, arguing that neurosurgeons did not need spine fellowship training to place pedicle screws. Heary will wear whatever hat to protect his financial piece of the healthcare pie, without any regard for the people that matter the most, the patients, and it is this exact same corrupt conduct that has led to the suspension of Dr.Kaul’s medical license. The circle of corruption will be one step closer to completion after Heary’s deposition and the as of yet unidentified malfeasant board member will have his or her veil lifted. Links:

Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Search By Tags
Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square
bottom of page