Javaid Perwaiz, a longtime OB/GYN in Virginia whose arrest last year shocked and confused hundreds of his patients, was convicted Monday, Nov. 10, 2020, of 52 counts related to what prosecutors called his scheme to defraud insurance companies by giving women life-altering hysterectomies and other surgeries they did not need.
Perwaiz, who practiced medicine in the Hampton Roads region for nearly four decades, faces a maximum sentence of 465 years in prison, according to the U.S. attorney’s office for the Eastern District of Virginia. The former doctor’s sentencing is scheduled for March 31. His attorneys did not respond to a request for comment.
“Doctors are in positions of authority and trust and take an oath to do no harm to their patients,” Karl Schumann, acting special agent in charge of the FBI’s Norfolk field office, said in a statement. “With unnecessary, invasive medical procedures, Dr. Perwaiz not only caused enduring complications, pain and anxiety to his patients, but he assaulted the most personal part of their lives and even robbed some of their future.”
Perwaiz, 70, was arrested last fall after an FBI investigation found that since at least 2010, the doctor had been carrying out a health care fraud scheme that included performing diagnostic procedures with broken equipment and scaring patients into surgery by falsely claiming they had cancer.
As they announced the criminal case, authorities cited wrongdoing from Perwaiz’s past that had been unknown to many of the women he treated. Perwaiz was convicted of felony tax fraud in the 1990s. He also had a disciplinary letter from the Virginia Board of Medicine in the 1980s chastising him for bad note-taking after he was fired from a hospital for allegedly performing 11 hysterectomies without medical reason.
Perwaiz’s patients have spent the year since his arrest grappling with feelings of anger, betrayal, loss and shame. Though hundreds of women requested their medical records from law enforcement, 29 patients were specified in court documents. Others have reached out to medical malpractice attorneys and have sought medical advice from new doctors about the validity of their care.
For those not formally identified as victims by the FBI, Perwaiz’s conviction has not brought the closure they are seeking.
“I’m glad that he can’t do it to anyone else,” said Karen Lane, 53, a longtime patient who had her uterus and ovaries removed by Perwaiz when she was in her early 30s and questions whether it was necessary. “But . . . I still feel left out, like he didn’t get anything for what he did to me.”
Lane said malpractice attorneys would not take up her case, telling her the surgeries had happened too long ago. The FBI never called her back, she said.
“I still feel like he got away with it for me,” she said. “I don’t think anything is going to really make it better.”
During the three-week criminal trial in federal court in Norfolk that began in mid-October, prosecutors presented evidence that they said proved Perwaiz had falsified medical charts of expecting mothers to induce their deliveries early on days he was already scheduled to work and had illegally backdated Medicaid consent forms for sterilization procedures.
Authorities said Perwaiz was driven by greed and purchased high-end cars and other luxury items.
Former patients testified about the enduring physical and emotional pain from hysterectomies and other surgeries that permanently changed their bodies. On the stand, nurses who worked at hospitals with Perwaiz said they repeatedly complained about the doctor to their supervisors.
At the time of his arrest, Perwaiz had admitting privileges at Bon Secours Maryview Medical Center and Chesapeake Regional Medical Center. He also had two private practice offices in Chesapeake.
Perwaiz defended himself at trial, admitting to jurors that he did alter certain aspects of his patient’s medical charts – but saying that he did so in the interest of their health, not to make money.
“I am an advocate for my patients,” he said during his testimony.
A federal jury deliberated for 2 1/2 days before finding Perwaiz guilty of 52 of the 61 counts prosecutors brought against him. The jury found him not guilty of three counts of health-care fraud, two counts of aggravated identity theft and three counts of making false statements related to health-care matters. The jury was unable to determine a verdict on one count.
Perwaiz’s license to practice medicine in Virginia expired in March.
Brittni DuPuy-German, who has checked news reports about the trial almost daily, was relieved to hear that the man who had cared for generations in her family was convicted. Though she was not a named victim in charging documents, Dupuy-German said Perwaiz performed four procedures on her in 15 months – including a hysterectomy when she was 29 that left her with chronic pain. She alleges mistreatment in a pending lawsuit against Perwaiz.
While the sentencing will make his punishment feel concrete, she said, the conviction was validating.
“At least it’s done; he is found guilty,” she said. “It kind of hits you, like, this is real, this did happen.”
But for patient Angela Lee, now 61, Perwaiz’s conviction did little to comfort her. Lee is not among the victims named in court papers but also has questioned her care.
She said she suffered a complication during a hysterectomy performed by Perwaiz in 2002 that led to heavy bleeding. Lee was placed in an induced coma for days, she said.
“I’m feeling like what happened to him is not sufficient for the people whose lives he hurt,” Lee said. “I’m really, really angry. And the anger has not subsided after all these years. . . . It’s making me feel like it happened to me yesterday.”
“The rest of my life I gotta look at this ugly scar on my stomach,” she said. “I gotta think about the pain that he inflicted on me that he got paid for.”