NORFOLK, Va. – The website of a Virginia gynecologist describes his surgical skills as “unparalleled.''
But federal prosecutors say many of the procedures Dr. Javaid Perwaiz performed on unsuspecting patients were unnecessary and unwanted, including hysterectomies and tubal ligations.
Perwaiz, of Chesapeake, Virginia, was ordered held without bond earlier this month on charges of health care fraud in a case that has prompted outraged patients to swamp his offices demanding their medical records. A prosecutor said 173 women have come forward since his arrest to report similar experiences, including repetitive surgeries that they never asked for.
An arrest warrant affidavit written by an FBI agent alleges that Perwaiz, an obstetrician-gynecologist, has a long history of performing unnecessary surgical procedures on his patients without their knowledge or permission.
In one case, Perwaiz is accused of performing annual surgeries on a woman who had diagnosed herself with endometriosis. When she went to see a fertility specialist in 2014, she learned that “both fallopian tubes were burnt down to nubs,'' making natural conception impossible.
“Perwaiz had removed J.L.'s fallopian tubes without her knowledge or consent,'' FBI agent Desiree Maxwell wrote in the affidavit.
Another patient sought treatment in 2012 after an abnormal Pap smear. The affidavit says Perwaiz advised her to undergo a hysterectomy, but she objected, agreeing only to outpatient laparoscopic surgery, to remove just her ovaries.
When she awoke, she was “shocked'' to learn Perwaiz had performed a total abdominal hysterectomy and had perforated her bladder during the surgery, the affidavit states. The woman developed sepsis and was hospitalized for six days.
During Perwaiz's detention hearing in U.S. District Court, Assistant U.S. Attorney V. Kathleen Dougherty said the affidavit focuses on just four women, but there are many more. She said prosecutors have interviewed dozens of additional women and heard from nearly 200 who allege similar experiences.
“That's just the tip of the iceberg,'' she said of the initial allegations.
Perwaiz is accused of submitting fraudulent claims to health care benefit programs – including Medicaid – seeking reimbursement for the procedures.
Prosecutors said he performed the surgeries “for his own financial gain.'' Dougherty said Perwaiz owns five luxury automobiles, including one Bentley and four Mercedes-Benz vehicles, and claimed on a 2016 loan application that he has $200,000 in “Gold/Art'' in his home.
Perwaiz's lawyer, Lawrence Woodward Jr., said he has received a flood of unsolicited emails from patients who have described Perwaiz's “fine qualities'' and “how he helped them.''
“There is a multitude of them,'' he said.
Woodward said Perwaiz, a native of Pakistan, has devoted 40 years to his medical practice in Virginia.
“His life has been his work,'' Woodward said.
Woodward urged Magistrate Judge Robert Krask to allow Perwaiz to be released on bond while he awaits trial. He said Perwaiz is in the process of shutting down his medical offices in Chesapeake and will not be performing surgery.
The judge rejected that request, calling the allegations “deeply disturbing.''
Authorities said Perwaiz has been named in at least eight malpractice lawsuits that allege he falsified patient records to justify medical procedures, failed to use less invasive techniques and provided substandard care that caused permanent injuries to three patients and life-threatening injuries to two patients.
Perwaiz also has had a history of disciplinary problems.