New Jersey Surgeon Under Suspicion of Malpractice Loses Medical License Due to Substance Abuse

A vice president of the hospital’s surgical staff at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital at Hamilton (RWJ) has lost his medical license and is facing litigation for medical malpractice that resulted in the death of at least one patient. According to the State Board of Medical Examiners, Dr. Vijay Vaswani admitted to using cocaine a week prior to losing his license, and has a well documented history of substance abuse. An RWJ spokesman has stated that Vaswani was not an employee of the hospital, but was in private practice with privileges to practice and perform surgery at RWJ.

When Vaswani first applied for his medical license, he indicated to the state that he had a college history of marijuana and cocaine use. While completing his general surgery residency at Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia, he entered an inpatient rehab program for abuse of the surgical anesthetic drug Versed. In 2001, the State Board of Medical Examiners (the Board) granted his license upon conditional completion of a resolution program. But then in 2006, Vaswani was taking Xanax and was involved in a car crash. He was charged with driving under the influence. He completed a treatment program and the Board permitted him to withdraw from the resolution program in 2011.

According to a December 2015 consent order Vaswani entered into with the Board for the suspension of his license, he relapsed sometime in 2012, and had been writing Percocet prescriptions for three people who were not his patients and had no medical use for the drug in exchange for cocaine. The license suspension was not publically announced, but was listed on the Board’s website.

Dr. Vaswani has been under scrutiny for medical malpractice long before the Board suspended his license. In March of 2011, Vaswani performed laprascopic hernia repair surgery on a patient at RWJ. He allegedly denied the patient’s request for a second opinion, as well as her request to be transferred to RWJ’s main hospital. The patient alleges that he deviated from the standard of care by perforating her bowel during surgery. A lawsuit filed on the patient’s behalf alleges that she then developed sepsis, septic shock, and suffered multiple organ failures two days after the surgery. After two subsequent repair surgeries, the patient passed away. According to the lawsuit, these repair surgeries were the direct result of Vaswani’s negligent failure to discover and adequately treat the patient’s perforated bowel in March of 2011.

After this patient’s lawsuit was filed and the story was picked up by the media, many other patients have come forward claiming that they were negligently treated by Vaswani. One of these patients alleges that Vaswani negligently performed a mastectomy at RWJ. After the mastectomy, large hardened fluid pockets called “seromas” developed on her breasts, allegedly because fluid was not drained from the incisions during surgery. She required a subsequent procedure to repair the initial mastectomy.

There is no evidence that Vaswani was under the influence of cocaine when he performed either of these surgeries.

If you suspect that you have been injured as a result of medical malpractice, the experienced Monmouth County medical malpractice lawyers at Shebell & Shebell are prepared to help. With over eight decades of experience, we will fight to hold responsible parties accountable and get you maximum compensation. Call us at 732-532-2011 or contact us online. We represent clients throughout New Jersey, including Monmouth County, Middlesex County, and Ocean County, including Howell, Freehold, Middletown, Shrewsbury, Wall, Union Beach and Neptune.