Petaluma Doctor Peter Redko under fire for alleged malpractice.
North Bay Foot and Ankle Center , Peter Redko, DPM
State of California Suspends his license and stayed with a long extensive list of probation terms.
In the news courtesy of the Press Democrat / Argus Courier
Petaluma Doctor faces discipline for alleged botched surgeries.
When Mary Stompe, a decorated competitive runner, went to Petaluma podiatrist Peter Redko for a surgery to repair an ankle injury, she said he told her she’d run again within six months. Three years and three surgeries later, doctors say she may never run again, and she blames Redko.
“Running was a huge part of my identity,” the 54-year-old executive director of Petaluma-based nonprofit PEP Housing said. “It was a big deal … it was a big part of my life with my husband. Really the main activity that we did together was running. I can’t ski anymore, I can’t do any of the things we used to do. That’s all gone.”
Stompe said what should have been a simple tendon surgery turned into a nightmare after Redko allegedly botched the procedure, causing her years of suffering and costing thousands of dollars. She filed a complaint with the Board of Podiatric Medicine that eventually led to a five-year probation for Redko, during which time he will be barred from practicing tendon surgeries and having a solo medical practice. The probation was to begin April 6, but the board stayed the order until April 16 while it considers an appeal filed by Redko’s lawyer.
“It’s been terrible waiting,” Stompe said. “It’s very frustrating when you work with the government and you have to wait through this very long process, but I’m glad I stuck with it … it’s just such a long and arduous process and I think that’s why more claims aren’t filed.”
Redko, a 43-year-old podiatrist who has been practicing at the North Bay Foot and Ankle Center since 2004, was placed on a 35-month probation in 2013 after a bunion removal surgery that eventually led to the amputation of a 15-year-old girl’s toe and a second procedure on a separate patient that led to blood clots, according to accusations brought before the podiatry board.
Redko also has been sued in Sonoma County Superior Court at least five times for medical malpractice and professional negligence, according to court records dating back to 2007. Four of those cases have been dismissed, and exact details of those allegations were not available as the court destroys records of dismissed cases. The plaintiff in the most recent small claims court filing from February is seeking $10,000 and alleging medical malpractice as well as professional and medical negligence. The claimant did not return a call for comment.
Steven Teal, a Santa Rosa lawyer representing the plaintiffs in at least one of the cases, did not return multiple calls for comment. Redko’s lawyer, Tiburon-based Ronald Goldman, did not respond to requests for comment.
Redko, who also has done charity work with the nonprofit Revived Soldiers Ukraine, denied all allegations of malpractice.
“Who knows who these people are making these statements,” he said. “We do have a competitive environment and it could have come from one person – someone with an ulterior motive. I think we do good work here and we’ve been here for 15 years and we plan on continuing to do good work.”
He said the Board of Podiatry proceedings that led to his most recent probation went forward without his expert witness present to testify in his favor. Necessary paperwork was sent to the witness, who he declined to identify, during the October wildfires and when the witness was in surgery, he said.
An extension to get the witness to the hearings was not granted, he said. He believes that’s a violation of due process and said Goldman has filed a lawsuit against the state seeking a reversal of the decision or a retrial, he said.
A board spokeswoman declined to comment on the issue.
Falling out of step
Before she was knocked out of the competitive circuit, Stompe was among the top of her categories in 31 out of 48 races in which she participated from 2012 to 2014. She’d run her entire life, and injured her ankle while competing in a race in Maine in 2014, she said.
After undergoing physical therapy and suffering from chronic pain, Stompe’s orthopedist told her to see a podiatrist about a tear in her tendon. She chose Redko, who studied at Temple University in Philadelphia, and did his residency training in New York City, according to his biography on Sonoma Valley Hospital’s website.
After what Stompe described as a 10-minute consultation Dec. 9, 2014, when Redko did not order x-rays or an ultrasound or request medical records, the doctor suggested surgery, Stompe said. He didn’t have Stompe sign a consent form at his office or order lab tests before the Dec. 16 procedure at Petaluma Valley Hospital, according to the accusation presented to the Board of Podiatric Medicine.
After her surgery, Stompe continued to see Redko for complaints of severe pain through May, when her last appointment was canceled by Redko’s office, she said. Redko allegedly advised against a follow-up MRI, but another doctor ordered a follow-up MRI and surgery, which revealed scarring, improper stitches and a tendon that had been sewn to a sheath, she said.
A third surgery by a third doctor was performed in January 2016, where a tendon from her hamstring was harvested to replace her injured ankle tendon.
“The whole thing was a little odd,” she said. “As I look back on it now, there were so many red flags.”
Petaluma doctor aids wounded Ukrainian soldierRedko said there’s “no truth” to Stompe’s account and “no one told her that she would run within six months of treatment.”
“There was no different surgery performed,” he said. “If we did something wrong, how come the next doctor did practically the same procedure?”
Stompe said she was made to fill out a positive Yelp review for Redko as staff stood by upon her first visit, and five other negative reviews have been removed. Redko denied the allegations about the reviews and said Yelp controls review removal.
Stompe also signed an arbitration agreement on her first visit, a legal document that would later preclude her from seeking further legal action because of the potential of incurring tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees if she lost the case, she said. Redko said his office has made patients sign arbitration agreements for more than a decade, adding that it’s common practice in the medical field.
Eight years before Redko operated on Stompe, he performed a scheduled bunion removal on a 15-year-old’s foot, according to an accusation from the Board of Podiatric Medicine proceedings. The unidentified female patient complained of tingling after the surgery, and over the course of the 24 days she went to follow up appointments with Redko as the toe grew worse, the complaint states.
A vascular surgeon later diagnosed the girl with gangrene in her big toe on her left foot. Her toe was later amputated.
Nancy Bandittini, the mother of the teen whose toe was amputated, could not comment because she said she was made to sign a non-disclosure agreement as part of a settlement.
Redko said there was no way to know what the issue was with the toe.
“There was nothing anyone found that we did wrong,” he said. “No one could determine what the reason was for the complication post-operatively.”
After an investigation into that complaint, an administrative law judge ordered Redko be placed on a 35 month probation in 2011.
Redko filed a petition for early termination and was let off probation nine months early. The board received letters of recommendation from podiatrist Robert LaVigna, who said probation had “humbled” Redko, and Rochelle Bomar, now an associate at his practice.
‘Left out in the cold’
In 2009, Rohnert Park’s Mariane Van Durden said Redko performed a surgery to remove bunions and callous. After the procedure, she was in a boot for a month longer than she was told would be necessary and suffered from pain in her toe. She saw a second Petaluma podiatrist six months after the procedure, who told her that nerves were cut on the two toes, limiting her ability to walk and eventually leading her to get a handicapped placard.
“The truth is, I’m depressed about it,” the 68-year-old said. “It’s permanent and no doctors want to touch it. I feel abandoned and left out in the cold.”
She contacted the medical board and a lawyer, but did not purse action in either channel, she said.
A staff member from a separate North Bay podiatrist who declined to be identified for fear of retribution, said the facility has seen as many as 10 surgical patients in the last five to six years who had surgeries bungled by Redko.
“They’re all typically surgeries where the patients didn’t have a good result,” the staff member said. “Sometimes the doctors felt they had been over treated … you can have a bad result, it happens and not everyone is perfect. It’s not common, but you can have a bad result, post-operative complications requiring further care, but for it to always come out of the same office doesn’t seem common.”
Redko has privileges at Sonoma Valley Hospital, Petaluma Valley Hospital and Sebastopol’s Palm Drive hospital, according to his biography on the Sonoma hospital’s website.
Sonoma Valley Hospital’s Manager of Marketing and Community Outreach, Celia Kruse de la Rosa, declined to comment. Vanessa deGier, who is the regional director of communications and marketing for St. Joseph Health, was not aware of the decision to place Redko on probation again.
Alleged false advertising
Joseph Soldis, a retired law enforcement officer who operates California Judicial Investigations, a Northern California investigative firm, plans to submit a new complaint to the Board of Podiatric Medicine.
He became aware of a Groupon offering discounted toe fungus removal services from Redko’s office. The deal listed the service for 75 to 78 percent off the “normal” price of $900 for one foot and $1,200 for two feet, according to a screen shot of the ad.
An inquiry to Redko’s staff revealed that the listed discount prices – $199 for one foot and $299 for two feet – were actually the current and normal charges, Soldis said. It usually takes multiple treatments to eradicate such fungus, which was not noted in the Groupon, Soldis said.
Emails and a cease and desist letter to Redko were not acknowledged, he said.
He plans to file a complaint to the board that includes the false advertising issue, and another separate malpractice issue for Christina Yang, who filed a separate small claims lawsuit this February against Redko. He plans to send a complaint to the California Attorney General’s Consumer Fraud Unit and the Sonoma County District Attorneys Consumer Fraud Unit. He is seeking others who have experienced issues with Redko.
The total number of complaints about Redko received by the Board of Podiatric Medicine was not available, spokeswoman Michelle Cave said.
His most recent probation comes with 23 stipulations, including monitoring and rigorous educational requirements, such as clinical training and records keeping courses. His license was technically revoked, but that revocation was stayed as long as he meets the terms of the probation, according to the filings.
208 Rodeo Beverly Hills Restaurant accused of Ripping Customers off on Tips
Los Angeles, CA: 208 Rodeo Drive has been accused of ripping customers off through a tip scheme aimed at doubling tips. 208 Rodeo has a policy that mandates an 18% tip on all service, regardless of the size of the party. Making matters worse, they programmed the receipt printer to allow for a "tip" to be added without telling the customers that the tip was already included. The managers admit that they don't train employees to inform guests that the tip is already included. This results in tips ranging from 40 to 45% or more! Managers stand behind the policy stating that people from "other countries" such as tourists don't often know that they should tip. So rather than "asking them to tip" they simply force them to tip. The restaurant apparently is ignorant to the laws which prevent mandatory tipping. Staff was confronted about the tipping scheme. They defend the practice saying "it is their responsibility to read the menu and they will know they are tipping so high." The scheme is costing customers tens of thousands (or more) dollars per year. Employees and servers are tight lipped about the scam as they rake in the money from this unconscionable business fraud! A review of YELP and Trip Advisor shows that any such complaints are quickly removed from their websites.
With all of the ethical places to dine in Los Angeles, is this really where you want to spend your money!? We don't think so. Walk down the street, there are plenty of other places that are ethical, fair and who don't engage in this type of rip off!
Yelp Businesses Accuse Yelp of Extortion!!!
Yelp and the Business of Extortion 2.0 Local business owners say Yelp offers to hide negative customer reviews of their businesses on its web site ... for a price.By Kathleen Richards @KathORichards
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This article won first place for in-depth, investigative reporting at both the 2010 East Bay Press Club's Excellence in Print Journalism Contest and the 2010 Society of Professional Journalists awards.
The phone calls came almost daily. It started to get creepy.
"Hi, this is Mike from Yelp," the voice would say. "You've had three hundred visitors to your site this month. You've had a really good response. But you have a few bad ones at the top. I could do something about those."
This wasn't your average sales pitch. At least, not the kind that John, an East Bay restaurateur, was used to. He was familiar with Yelp.com, the popular San Francisco-based web site in which any person can write a review about nearly any business. John's restaurant has more than one hundred reviews, and averages a healthy 3.5-star rating. But when John asked Mike what he could do about his bad reviews, he recalls the sales rep responding: "We can move them. Well, for $299 a month." John couldn't believe what the guy was offering. It seemed wrong.
In fact, something seemed shady about the state of his restaurant's negative reviews. "When you do get a call from Yelp, and you go to the site, it looks like they have been moved," John said. "You don't know if they happen to be at the top legitimately or if the rep moved them to the top. You don't even know if this is someone who legitimately doesn't like your restaurant. ... Almost all the time when they call you, the bad ones will be at the top."
Usually, John said, he would politely decline to advertise. "Well, thanks," he'd say. "I'll talk to my partner about it." Or, "It's not really in my budget right now." But inevitably, in another week or so, he'd get another phone call. Occasionally, the voice on the other end of the phone would change, but the calls continued. These days, John chooses to not answer his phone when it's from a number with a 415 area code.
John may sound paranoid, but he's got company. During interviews with dozens of business owners over a span of several months, six people told this newspaper that Yelp sales representatives promised to move or remove negative reviews if their business would advertise. In another six instances, positive reviews disappeared — or negative ones appeared — after owners declined to advertise.
Because they were often asked to advertise soon after receiving negative reviews, many of these business owners believe Yelp employees use such reviews as sales leads. Several, including John, even suspect Yelp employees of writing them. Indeed, Yelp does pay some employees to write reviews of businesses that are solicited for advertising. And in at least one documented instance, a business owner who refused to advertise subsequently received a negative review from a Yelp employee.
Many business owners, like John, feel so threatened by Yelp's power to harm their business that they declined to be interviewed unless their identities were concealed. (John is not the restaurant owner's real name.) Several business owners likened Yelp to the Mafia, and one said she feared its retaliation. "Every time I had a sales person call me and I said, 'Sorry, it doesn't make sense for me to do this,' ... then all of a sudden reviews start disappearing." To these mom-and-pop business owners, Yelp's sales tactics are coercive, unethical, and, possibly, illegal.
"That's the biggest scam in the Bay Area," John said. "It totally felt like a blackmail deal. I think they're doing anything to make a sale."
Yelp officials deny that they move negative reviews, although such allegations have surfaced many times before. The issue is even addressed on the web site's Frequently Asked Questions page. Chief Operating Officer Geoff Donaker said advertisers and sales representatives don't have the ability to move or remove negative reviews. "We wouldn't be in business very long if we started duping customers," he said.
But Donaker's denials are challenged by nine local business owners and also by a former contract employee who worked with Yelp in its early days. That person, who is still close to some Yelp employees and only agreed to be interviewed if granted anonymity, said several sales reps have told him they promised to move reviews to get businesses to advertise. "It's not illegal or unethical," he said they told him. "We're just helping the little guy. It doesn't hurt them, it benefits them."
Such tactics may be legal, but they clearly raise ethical concerns. Yelp touts its web site as consisting of "real people" writing "real reviews." The allegations of business owners who have tangled with the company suggest otherwise.
If Yelp indeed suppresses honest reviews in exchange for its advertisers' money, it is cheating users who expect genuine consumer feedback. Conversely, if Yelp demands payment to remove even dishonest reviews, then advertisers are being cheated.
More Yelp Censorship!
YELP AUTOMATIC FILTERS CENSOR CONSUMERS!!
Time and time again, YELP "filters" block out valid YELP reviews. It is a game that Yelp continues to play to censor valid comments and have full control over the reviews that businesses experience. Yelp clearly is not an open forum where people can speak up and voice their reviews of businesses. Yelp has turned into a self-controlled yellow pages where they conspire with businesses to ensure that paying businesses get good reviews and top ratings and those that don't play (pay) the game don't get the protection from Yelp and suffer negative reviews.
Here is the latest YELP review as of December, 2013.
I am done with Yelp. They have censored every single review I have posted whether they be 5 star reviews or 1 star reviews. I have 23 reviews so far and every one is not recommended for review. I sent them an email voicing my concern. I'm sure they will get back to me with their generic email about how their software automatically filters through the reviews. I'm going to post reviews on Google instead.
YELP CENSORS HydroDog Grooming review!
"I am partially disabled from a car accident and heart condition. On May 30, 2013 at 8:30 a.m. I contracted with Hydro Dog to groom my Chow pup. The price was raised when the groomer we saw the dog from $90.00 to $130.00. I can respect needing to see a pet before giving a concrete price.
The groomer did not want to take time to groom the Chow and wanted to shave him. Reluctantly I agreed. Less than 1/4 of the way doing the job, the groomer walked off the job and gave me my pet back partially shaved and told me to see a VET. The groomer spoke about how matted the chow was and in my my opinion tried to make a mountain out of a molehill.
Another groomer was called in to finish the job and had no problems with the pet. We have a home video and pictures of this too.
A mobile Vet saw the pet at 2:00 the same day just hours after the groomer walked off the job and another pet finished the job.The vet stated in her medical report that this dog was not aggressive and had no skin issues.
A report was left on Yelp. I take pride on being factual and I try NOT be vindictive. I never made a mention of the names of the HydroDog groomer or my mobile Vet. YELP CENSORED MY REVIEW.....yet the same review is on google for Hydro Dog"
YELP CENSORS REVIEW OF CATFISH PARLOUR!"Can you believe this! I just got a nasty gram from Yelp telling me they censored my review of Catfish Parlour! My review for Catfish Parlour has been posted on Yelp.com at http://www.yelp.com/biz/catfish-parlour-austin-4
Discrimination or a business’ prerogative? A local restaurant is under fire for asking a mother and her special needs child to leave after customers complained about the child making noise. The parent is upset because they had already been seated and allowed to order.
Read More at: http://www.keyetv.com/news/features/top-stories/stories/family-considering-lawsuit-against-catfish-parlour-10223.shtml"
YELP CENSORS VALID & CONFIRMED NEGATIVE REVIEW OF BIKE AND ROLL WASHINGTON D.C.!!!!
We published a comment on Yelp. It had to do with a company called Bike and Roll in Washington D.C. A young woman who traveled to USA from Australia saved years for this trip of a lifetime. Here is her story:
"I was on a much awaited road trip of the US, which I had been planning for a number of years now. I had always planned on doing a bike tour of Washington, as my cousin did one last year while visiting and recommended it highly. I was waiting til I arrived in DC to see the weather and whether this was feasible, DC weather being reportedly haphazard. So once I arrived and the weather was good enough, I booked the tour.
I called Bike and Roll in the morning to confirm my tour. I was told that it was confirmed and to arrive around 6pm for the tour. Based on the withdrawal of the cost of the tour from my card and the confirmation from the staff member on the morning of the tour, I organized my day around where I needed to be. In this instance taking a rest break in the afternoon so I would be fresh to enjoy the tour.
I arrived at the scheduled time and was told that they decided to sell a tour to a "group of people" and I was turned away. The only compensation they offered was to simply refund my money.
Not being able to complete the tour meant, I had lost a number of hours in the afternoon which I could have seen more of DC and also not seeing the city at night. As a women traveling alone I did not feel safe "wandering " the city randomly on my own, I have heard the stories.
The experience was very disappointing as I missed an opportunity to see many of the very sites that I came to see. I also paid for a hotel, rental car, parking and the tour- all of which were not reimbursed by the tour company.
We contacted Stephen Marks, the tour operator of Bike and Roll. Under further questioning, he blamed the error on Viator, a third party re-seller of Bike and Roll tickets/tours. He said, "We told Viator two weeks ago that we were not selling tickets for that date. But they did it anyway." But, when we informed him that the woman confirmed the tour, calling Bike and Roll on the morning of the tour, Mr. Marks paused and finally said, "Well, we made a mistake too." Trying to dig his way out of a hole, rather than just accept responsibility Mr. Marks stated, "We tried to call her and email her" (no such phone calls or emails were received). Ironically, Mr. Marks later suggested he didn't have her contact information and asked our office to contact her - once again demonstrating the fact they never attempted to contact her as he suggested.
The victim of this fiasco asked that Bike and Roll reimburse her for the ticket and also her expenses (the hotel/car/parking) for the lost day. Much to our surprise, Mr. Marks refused to refund anything. he suggested that the young woman contact Viator, the ticket re-seller and seek her refund there.
When we informed Mr. Marks that our office would be getting involved to help this young woman, he blew us off with the typical "do what you need to do" type of response and went back to selling more tours.
The owner of Bike and Roll later contacted the customer and told her that nobody remembered speaking with or confirming the tour on the morning of the tour. But wait, didn't he already tell us above that he tried to "call her back" and "email her" right after she "confirmed" on the morning of the tour? Once again, Mr. Marks could not even keep his own story straight and the excuses kept "rolling in" (no pun intended!).
So that is where we came into the story. We posted a review on YELP to let others know that about this unfortunate experience. Isn't that what Yelp is about?
As it turned out, within a day, we were contacted by YELP and told that our comment would be removed because we were not a party to the incident. But wait, is that to mean that if I am a customer in a restaurant and overhear the owner making sexual remarks to another customer (but not me directly) that my review would be removed? Is Yelp saying that if I observe, see, observe or experience bad customer service that I can not post it on Yelp? What?? YELP now seems to suggest that only the actual direct victim of an incident can post a review?? Is this the review site you thought it was? Hmm...
We were witnesses to this incident and spoke with the owner and were given a callas response. Our experience with the owner was direct and poor customer service. He has a poor attitude and clearly deserved a poor review.
When Yelp backed his company and removed the comments within a day, we wondered why?
It all became clear when we looked at the home page of Bike and Roll and the Bike and Roll Yelp page. They are in bed together. It is obvious that with the millions of comments that are posted on Yelp that they don't monitor nor have the time to monitor each comment. It is painfully obvious that Bike and Roll didn't like the review and wanted it removed. It is interesting that the general public has a very difficult time reaching anyone at Yelp -but apparently others (perhaps Bike and Roll) seem to have a bat phone to access Yelp when they don't like a review. Amazing that Yelp caters to these businesses and move quickly to clean up bad reviews promptly.
In response to Yelp's removal of our legitimate review, we posted again. Once again, with lightening speed, YELP removed the negative post and warned us that if we posted again, they would close our account.
Not phased, we posed the "truth" about Bike and Roll on Yelp again. Within minutes, our post was removed and our account was closed.
What followed was even more amazing. We received a phone call from a popular dining establishment. We were asked, "Why was your Yelp account closed?" After some discussion, we realized that all of our posts/comments/reviews since we opened our YELP account were removed. So because we had one disagreement over the final post, YELP removed everything from the beginning of time.
We have since been contacted by other establishments that were disappointed that our valued comments were deleted. Most were very angry because they enjoyed the positive comments we wrote about their establishments. They could not believe that because Bike and Roll didn't like their review that now suddenly all of the other businesses/establishments were penalized and their positive reviews were removed as well.
So while Bike and Roll could have simply accepted their responsibility and taken care of this customer, they ended up causing a Yelp account to be closed and all of the wonderful comments we posted about other establishments to be deleted. I trust the ripples of Bike and Roll's efforts to silence our comments will be felt far beyond the splash!
Once again another reason that YELP is not to be trusted!!!!