Doctor implicated in hyperbaric deaths loses medical license

An 85-year-old Florida doctor held responsible for the deaths of a child and his grandmother in a hyperbaric chamber seven years ago in Broward County has lost his medical license.

The Florida Board of Medicine revoked the medical license of Dr. George Daviglus on Friday, according to Health News Florida.

The news consortium reported the Altamonte Springs chest surgeon worked as the medical director for Ocean Hyperbaric Neurologic Center in 2009 in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea when a spark caused a fire in the pressurized oxygen chamber.

A doctor has lost his license for a fire in a hyperbaric chamber like this one. (Photo: Creative Commons)

The fire killed Vicenza Pesce immediately and severely injured her grandson, 4-year-old Francesco Martinisi of Italy. The child suffered severe burns and died one month later.

Hyperbaric oxygen treatment is sometimes used for chronic neurological diseases and other intractable ailments, but the devices are known usually for treating decompression illness in divers or carbon monoxide poisoning.

The Board of Medicine noted in striping Daviglus of his license that treatment for neurological conditions remains controversial with little evidence to support its use. Investigations found the chamber had faulty wiring and a broken intercom switch.

He said the fire was the fault of lax maintenance and that the owner of the center paid a $2 million settlement to the boy’s family, Health News Florida reported.  “I do not feel it was my fault in any way,” he said at a hearing on Friday.

Daviglus said he regrets a guilty plea in which he admitted that he was criminally liable.

To read the whole Health News Florida story click here.

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