A cardiologist in Bonita Springs, Florida, USA, has had his medical licence suspended after allegedly performing an illegal stem cell treatment on a patient who died during the procedure.
According to the NBC-2 website, Dr Zannos Grekos harvested tissue from the patient's abdomen which commonly contains stem cells, before isolating the cells in a laboratory and injecting them back into the patient's bloodstream.
The patient was Mr Richard Poling, a 77-year-old man from Indiana, who was suffering from pulmonary hypertension and pulmonary fibrosis. He reportedly died after suffering a heart attack during the treatment. 'He didn't have much time to live', Poling's niece told WINK News. 'They were desperate to try anything'.
Dr Grekos is a Clinical Assistant Professor at Nova Southeastern University and the Director of Cardiology and Vascular Diseases for Regenocyte, the first adult stem cell clinic in the USA. On its website he is described as 'a cardiologist with extensive training and experience in adult stem cell therapy'.
By treating Poling, he is accused of violating previous restrictions which had been placed on his licence. In February of this year Dr Grekos was ordered not to perform any further stem cell treatments after the death of a breast cancer patient. Following Poling's death, Florida's Department of Health ordered the emergency suspension of his licence while an investigation is carried out.
The suspension order states: 'By such action, Dr Grekos has demonstrated a disconcerting disregard for the duties and responsibilities imposed upon a physician practising in the State of Florida and for the health and welfare of his patients and the citizens of Florida'.
In a press release issued by his publicist, Dr Grekos said: 'An official investigation is underway and we are fully cooperating with all authorities. We look forward to a thorough and exhaustive investigation of the facts'.