Top gynecologist charged with fabricating medical data
Indictment charges doctor with forgery, fraud, and breach of trust for his alleged falsification of research.
A senior gynecologist was charged Monday with attempting to publish an article in three medical journals describing research he never carried out.
The indictment against Dr. Dov Dicker issued in the Petah Tikva Magistrates Court states that he took part in the falsification of documents and signatures on fictitious studies while was a senior staff member of the Obstetrics and Gynecology department at Rabin Medical Center in Petah Tikva. He was also serving as the head of the hospital's Helsinki Committee on human experimentation and the head of the Tel Aviv University medical school's obstetrics and gynecology faculty at the time.
The indictment specifies that he presented 34 consent forms supposedly signed by women who participated in the study. It also charges that he forged the signatures of doctors he said obtained the patients' signatures, Health Ministry approval forms, the signature of the hospital director, Helsinki committee approval and other documents.
The case was exposed in a series of articles in Haaretz beginning in 2005.
Among the charges Dicker faces are fraud, breach of trust, fraud by a senior public servant and use of a fraudulent document.
The indictment, issued by Osnat Kaufman-Yitzhak of the Central District's state prosecutor's office, stated that Dicker "had created the danger of causing harm to the credibility of medical research to doctors in Israel and the international community, all in order to glorify his professional reputation."
The indictment presented 53 witnesses for the prosecution, including gynecologist Prof. Dan Oppenheim, then-director of Rabin Medical Center, and Prof. Avinoam Reches, chairman of the Israel Medical Association's ethics bureau.
The indictment states that at the end of 2003 Dicker reported to Prof. Josef Shalev that he had results from a new treatment he had used on women with a twisted ovary by injecting physiological water into the pelvis area during laparoscopy, which allowed the ovary to assume its normal shape.
According to the indictment, Dicker told Shalev he had results of the study, when he had not carried it out at all. He allegedly read them out to Shalev from a piece of paper, with the intent of having them published in a foreign medical journal.
Shalev agreed to have the article published, and to sign on as one of its authors together with Dicker and others. The article was submitted to three medical journals in the United State and Britain and was rejected.
An editor of one of the American journals approached Prof. Dov Lichtenberg, at that time dean of Tel Aviv University's Sackler School of Medicine, mentioning suspicions about the study. A committee of inquiry was established to which Dicker allegedly submitted falsified documents, including patient data. The committee dismissed the suspicions against Dicker.
The Israel Medical Association's ethics bureau also rejected the suspicions after Dicker signed a statement affirming that all the data was true.
Dicker's lawyer on Monday declined to respond to the indictment.