Florida Keys News - Key West Citizen
Friday, May 17, 2013
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Police: Heart doctor steals meds

A Key West surgeon is accused of stealing hundreds of sample medications, including flu vaccinations and pills to treat erectile dysfunction, from the office he leased at dePoo Hospital, reports said.

"Enough for a doctor to start his own practice," an employee of the medical practice told Officer Thomas Stutz, according to an incident report released Thursday.

Dr. Manuel Gonzalez, who shared an office with another doctor at dePoo Hospital, 1200 Kennedy Drive, was cleaning out his office last Thursday after hours, police reported.

None of the medications taken were narcotics, and most are prescribed for cardiac care.

The alleged theft has nothing to do with Lower Keys Medical Center (LKMC), where Gonzalez has been on staff since October 2012 and was formerly director of cardiology and vascular medicine, LKMC Chief Executive Officer Nicki Will said.

"This investigation relates to his office practice," said Will, who disputed the police report that suggests Gonzalez is "being removed" from hospital staff.

Gonzalez couldn't be immediately reached Thursday, but Will said the police report relates only to private office space for doctors, not the hospital.

"It's a practice that leases space [at dePoo]," Will said Thursday. "The meds are not property of the Lower Keys Medical Center. He's a member of our staff."

The medications also included some for high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.

The samples were being held for destruction in a closed office, according to the practice's Director of Physician Practice Kandi O'Brien, who met with police Friday afternoon.

Gonzalez on Friday was practicing in Miami and was expected to return to Key West, O'Brien told police.

The report classifies the alleged crime as felony grand theft, with the suspected stolen goods valued between $300 and $5,000.

The 25-page incident report comprises an inventory of the 26 types of missing meds, which include Benicar, Bystolic, Cialis, Crestor, Janumet, Micardis and Niaspan.

O'Brien said Gonzalez was reached by phone and said he "only remembered seeing the medications two weeks ago," police reported.

No witnesses had been identified, police said.

The samples were last seen by O'Brien and other employees at 5 p.m. last Thursday. The doctor who shared the office with Gonzalez is out of state and not using the office, O'Brien said.

Gonzalez is a graduate of Beremundo Paz Sanchez in Cuba and has a master's degree in public health from Harvard University and an MBA from the University of Massachusetts.

gfilosa@keysnews.com

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