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$3,100 Root Canal, Other Tales of Bad Medicine

Miriam R. Rubano, a Palm Beach County dentist, had her license suspended in an emergency Department of Health order in October, on the grounds that she was a danger to the public. But apparently she ignored that and kept right on practicing, according to a report in the Palm Beach Post. Police arrested her in April on charges she wrote pain-pill prescriptions despite the suspension, and she was pending trial on that charge when patients came forward that triggered another arrest this week. A woman said she paid Rubano $8,000 for several root canals that later needed correction by a specialist. Then a man said Rubano charged him $3,141 for a root canal, refusing to accept his dental insurance and insisting on cash, according to the arrest report.

But at least Rubano once had a license as a health practitioner. That’s not the case with Calvin Butler of Pahokee, who received an eight-year prison sentence for injecting a variety of materials into the buttocks of people who wanted a more emphatic silhouette. Also known as Tamieka Butler, the man had no medical license or certification and was doing business in a motel room in West Palm Beach, according to the Palm Beach Post.  At least one victim had to be hospitalized for a bacterial infection; another had to have part of his buttocks removed.

Meanwhile, prosecutors in the case of Dr. John Christensen of West Palm Beach have filed court papers showing they intend to play high-stakes hardball in his upcoming trial, according to South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Christensen faces two counts of first-degree murder stemming from the overdose deaths of his patients. Prosecutors refuse to take the death penalty off the table.  

Originally founded in December 2006 as an independent grassroots publication dedicated to coverage of health issues in Florida, Health News Florida was acquired by WUSF Public Media in September 2012.