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Have You Heard The One About The Surgeon, The Rabbi And The Car Salesman?

Mon, 10/12/2009 - 3:29pm
According to a Philadelphia Daily News report by William Bender from earlier this month, Dr. Richard Glunk has been accused of attempting to bride Rabbi Solomon Isaacson, a member of the Pennsylvania Board of Medicine. This follows a lawsuit last year when Dr. Glunk was ordered to pay over $20 million to the family of Amy Fledderman an 18-year-old Penn State University freshman who died following a liposuction procedure.

The current complaint involves the Hasidic rabbi, the plastic surgeon and a car salesman. Stop me if you’ve heard this one already.

Here’s how the events transpired: Isaacson had contacted Gary Barbera, owner of the Roosevelt Boulevard car dealership, seeking a contribution for a local political campaign. Barbera told the rabbi he had already contributed $5,000, but said he would try to get others to come to the fundraiser and mentioned Glunk's name.

During a meeting with Isaacson at his synagogue, Glunk allegedly mentioned that he might have a case coming before the state medical board and wrote him a $5,000 check for the same campaign. Glunk was facing disciplinary action for three liposuction procedures had sent his patients to the hospital. Isaacson sits on the board that was preparing to hear Glunk's case.

Isaacson told investigators that Glunk sent a second $5,000 check - made out to the synagogue - a few days after their first meeting. He said he felt uncomfortable about the checks and returned both to the doctor.

Glunk's attorney, Thomas Bergstrom, acknowledged the contribution to the campaign, but said there was no evidence that the second check had been written. “Nobody has seen it; nobody has found it,” Bergstrom said.

The state Board of Medicine ultimately sided with Glunk in the liposuction cases and did not take any disciplinary action against him. Isaacson recused himself from the case.

But the board could suspend or revoke Glunk's medical license, and possibly impose up to $20,000 in fines if the doctor is found guilty of attempting to influence a member of the board. “We're going to defend this,” Bergstrom said. “It's not well-founded, and I think it's inaccurate.”

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