Doctor apologises for faking patient records in suicide note

It is believed his guilt contributed to his depression.
It is believed his guilt contributed to his depression. Photo credit: Getty Images

An American doctor has apologised in his suicide letter for faking patient records.

Illinois pediatrician Van Koinis, 58, left behind a document after taking his life last September. The note indicated there were problems with his patient's records.

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said their investigation had concluded it was almost only vaccination records which had been faked, not any other medical documents.

Koinis ran a practice that was well known to accommodate for anti-vaxxers. He was a solo practitioner and did not work with other doctors.

"He was well known for being someone who was into homeopathic medicine, and from what we have determined, it was well known that people opposed to vaccination could go to him," he said.

"Our thinking is that would mean that people who came there came with a purpose to get records phonied up, not have to take the vaccine and take the records to a school that would allow their child to be admitted even though their child never had a vaccine."

But his suicide note claims that he felt remorse for falsifying the documents.

"The note was very short," Dart told Chicago CBS. "It was a note where he expressed a lot of regret and the note was solely driven at the fact that he did things he regretted as far as the vaccinations… He was incredibly regretful for what he did and it was the only thing he mentioned in the suicide note. It was this and only this."

It is believed the guilt Koinis felt about this practice contributed to him taking his life. 

"There seems to be an overarching depression that was driven by years of not vaccinating people properly," Dart said. "We were not able to nail it down any further. That was the sole reason he gave for this."

Investigators believe Koinis gave patients who did want vaccinations the correct dosages but encouraged former patients to be checked. 

Dart said it is unclear how many juvenile patients may have been impacted, but it was thought to have occurred in the last 10 years. 

Koinis had been licenced to practice in Illinois since 1991 and had around 2500 patients.

Dana Hamed, the parent of a child in Koinis' care, told Chicago CBS she didn't believe the claims and that he was 'the absolute best physician' but another parent Mary Mullaney said she had her doubts.

"I was just there for the checkup and he actually ended up telling me that my son didn't need the vaccines that the school had said, so I believed him and then my son's school actually contacted me saying if he didn't have these shots that he wouldn't be able to come back," she said.

Eventually, Mullaney said Koinis did give her son the vaccination, but she pulled her children from his practice.

Sheriff Dart told the Tribune that doctors put aside their personal opinions and provide patients with the vaccinations which are required by law in Illinois.

"I don't care about your personal feelings on vaccinations, kids need them," Dart said. "You can't waive them arbitrarily. You clearly can't forge documents or encourage them to be forged and pass them on, so we're moving along that track."

No charges had been filed as of February 13. 



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