Archive for the tag 'doctors'

Photo by Ariela B.

The offices of Grigory Shyknevsky, D.D.S., at 2523 Ocean Avenue, where one of the accused worked. (Photo by Ariela B.)

First phony lawyers, now phony dentists.

Authorities arrested four people for pretending to be dentists and practicing on patients out of two Sheepshead Bay area clinics.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed felony charges against Konstantin Shtrambrand, Ilya Zolotar, Sergey Tolokolnikov and Hakob Gahnapetyan for practicing dentistry without a license. They face up to four years in prison if convicted.

Prosecutors say that Shtrambrand, 43, Zolotar, 48, and Tolokolnikov, 54, saw patients at J.S. Atlantic Dental at 1707 Avenue P.

Gahnapetyan, 44, worked out of the dental offices of Grigory Shyknevsky, D.D.S., at 2523 Ocean Avenue.

The first clinic is owned by Joseph Grigory Shyknevsky, the son of the owner of the second clinic. Both are also being investigated, although no charges have been filed.

The sham practices came to light after the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit dispatched undercover investigators to the clinics. There they spotted each of the defendants wearing scrubs and performing dental work. Zolotar was seen drilling a patient’s tooth, and the other three were overheard doling out medical advice.

Schneiderman blasted the alleged frauds for putting unsuspecting patients at serious risk.

“New Yorkers deserve to have confidence that the people providing them healthcare are licensed professionals,” Schneiderman said in a statement. “Plain and simple: there is one set of rules for everyone and my office will not tolerate those who seek to skirt the rules, including in the medical profession.”

The August 28 bust, in which the clinics were raided by authorities, comes just weeks after FBI agents raided a Brighton Beach law office. In that bust, a man allegedly had stolen the identity of a retired lawyer and fraudulently represented clients in at least 11 court cases.

Source: Gregory Maizous

Source: Gregory Maizous

Coney Island Hospital (2601 Ocean Parkway) is taking part in the city’s Take Care New York campaign in an effort to battle obesity, and provide health screenings and flu shots. According to a press release, the event is being organized by the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) and will run throughout the month of October.

The focus of the event centers around fighting obesity. The HHC press release detailed the harrowing statistics that point to the seriousness of the obesity problem:

In New York City, over 50 percent of adults and 40 percent of children are overweight or obese. The obesity epidemic strikes hardest in communities already suffering from health and economic disparities, particularly black, Latino and low-income communities where the rate of overweight and obesity reaches 70 percent in some neighborhoods.

Senior director of HHC’s Office of Healthcare Improvement, Dr. David Stevens, detailed the scary risks of living with obesity and noted how the Take Care New York campaign is looking to educate people with the aim of helping them lead healthier lives.

“Adults and children who are overweight are at increased risk for diabetes, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, arthritis and cancer. HHC hospitals and health centers can help New Yorkers commit to be fit in just a few simple steps. Eating right, exercising and losing weight can improve your health and decrease the risk of chronic disease. A few minutes of preventive care save a life,” Stevens said in the release.

If you are interested in attending, the Take Care New York campaign screenings will take place in the main lobby of the Coney Island Hospital (2601 Ocean Parkway) on October 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30 from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. For more information on the event, click here.

Nathan's Famous in the 1950s (Source: eBay via

Nathan’s Famous in the 1950s (Source: eBay via

Every time I am tasked with writing something about the original Nathan’s Famous (1310 Surf Avenue) I get really hungry. There is something about those delicious, ketchup-covered* hot dogs, the salty crinkle-cut french fries and the sea breeze off the boardwalk at Coney Island that just presses all my happy buttons. We all know that Nathan’s is a Brooklyn institution, but a reminder never hurts. A report in Brownstoner delves into the near century-long tradition of the world’s best hot-dog palace.

Like many Coney Island businesses, Nathan’s was wrecked by Superstorm Sandy. The hot-dog headquarters had a triumphant reopening this past May after undergoing a full remodeling. After all, no mere storm was going to sink this royal house of franks. Brownstoner noted that the reopening of Nathan’s brought back something old to the new start:

It re-opened in the spring of 2013, in time for the Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of summer. This time, they added something new – well, something old made a comeback, rather. The new Nathan’s has a curbside clam bar again, not seen since the 1950s. It’s a revival of the restaurant’s raw bar, with East Coast oysters and littleneck clams that are shucked on order over a mountain of ice. They are served with chowder crackers, lemon wedges, horseradish and cocktail sauce.

Brownstoner rolls back the clock even further, describing how Nathan’s was born from the original hot dog inventors:

The story is a familiar rags to riches, immigrant success story. Nathan’s Famous began in the mind of an enterprising Polish immigrant named Nathan Handwerker. Prior to 1916, he was working at the famous Feltman’s German Gardens, an immensely popular restaurant on Coney Island. Charles Feltman was another success story, a German immigrant who came to the US in 1856 at the age of fifteen. His Coney Island career started with a food pushcart on the beach, but by the early 1900’s, that push cart had grown into an empire that took up an entire city block. Feltman’s entertainment and restaurant complex contained nine restaurants, a beer garden, two enormous bars, a carousel, a roller coaster, an outdoor movie theater, a hotel, a ballroom, a bathhouse, a pavilion, a maple garden and a Tyrolean village. He was now a millionaire many times over.

Today, few people remember the enormity of his business, but they do remember that here in New York, he is credited for the invention of the hot dog. (There are other contenders.) He would later comment that his decision to put a sausage on a roll was not an attempt to invent something new, but was just an expedient way of serving the meat, one that didn’t need expensive silverware, or even a plate. He sold his frankfurters for ten cents, and they quickly became the most popular item on his menu.

The report then describes how Nathan Handwerker, (a great name for a hot dog pioneer, I might add) went on to build his own empire using cheaper prices and orchestrating the myth that his hot dogs were healthier than the competition’s:

Nathan Handwerker, as a worker at Feltman’s, was of course familiar with its famous fare. It was his job to split the rolls, and deliver the franks to the grilling station. Legend has it that he slept on the floor of the restaurant in order to save money for his own business. He wanted to make a better hot dog, and he had just the person to help him – his wife Ida Greenwald Handwerker. She had a recipe enhanced with secret spice ingredients handed down from her grandmother in the Old Country. With the encouragement of fellow Feltman’s employees, pianist Jimmy Durante and singing waiter Eddie Cantor, Nathan and Ida pooled together their savings, and with that $300, went into the hot dog business. In order to make their mark, and drum up their initial business, Nathan’s charged only five cents for their hot dogs, while Feltman’s were twice as much, at ten cents. It worked. The good tasting, cheaper hot dog was an enormous hit.

The dogs were sold at the small Nathan’s Famous stand on the corner of Surf and Stillwell Avenues, beginning in 1916. Nathan was a great idea man, and like all of the great Coney Island entrepreneurs, had more than a bit of the showman in him. He knew that a food like the hot dog would be suspicious to many people, especially in those early days before food inspectors. Ground meat products in casings, like hot dogs and sausages, caused many a raised eyebrow as to their content. They didn’t call it “mystery meat” for nothing. So he devised a two-fold strategy to overcome that stigma.

First, he had all of his servers dress in clean white surgeon’s smocks, to show cleanliness. He then handed out flyers to the local hospitals telling staff that they could eat for free, if they came to Nathan’s in their hospital white uniforms. Soon, long lines of doctors, nurses and aides, all in white, were standing in lines at the stand. Hey, if health professionals ate here in droves, it must be healthy, good food, right? Nathan’s never looked back.

Amazing stuff. The report goes on to detail the menu items added over the years and the subsequent massive expansion of the business over the years. I think I’m gonna hop on the Q-train now and grab a dog, but if your mouth isn’t quite watering yet, you can read the entire report by clicking here.

*Neditor’s note – Ketchup? F’ing ketchup?! MUSTARD! SPICY BROWN DELI MUSTARD! Ugh. I apologize to our readers for Willie’s uncivilized tastes. Freakin’ transplants.

Source: @Doug88888/Flickr

Authorities from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and NYPD busted a trafficking ring accused of setting up phony Sheepshead Bay medical practices to dole out prescriptions for highly addictive drugs, including oxycodone and Xanax.

Following a nine-month wiretap investigation, authorities yesterday said they arrested five members of the prescription drug trafficking ring that illegally raked in $3.4 million in bogus prescription drug sales through medical practices they controlled.

Sergey Plotits, 50, of Brightwater Court, was named as the ring leader and charged with conspiracy in the fourth degree and 16 counts of criminal sale of a prescription or controlled substance. According to the indictment, Plotits established medical offices in Sheepshead Bay and nearby neighborhoods for the sole purpose of illegally distributing large quantities of the highly addictive narcotics.

Find out how the ring operated, and why it matters.



An amendment that would have lifted the state’s stringent statute of limitations on suing medical practitioners for malpractice failed to come to a vote before this year’s state legislative session ended. According to a New York Daily News report, the proposed amendment, sponsored by Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein, failed because it didn’t have the support of State Senate leader Dean Skelos.

The amendment was referred to as Lavern’s Law, named after Brooklyn mother Lavern Wilkinson who died after doctors at Kings County Hospital failed to tell her she had a treatable lung nodule that they had detected. She and her family were unable to sue for medical malpractice due to the state’s strict statute of limitations laws, which start counting days from when the negligence actually occurred, not when it was discovered.

While the bill had gained traction in the Assembly, Weinstein held it back from a vote. Weinstein claims that the amendment would never have a chance in the Senate due to intense lobbying from hospital and doctors groups who argued that malpractice insurance rates would drastically increase.

Weinstein, who has spent years trying to get this law passed, explained her withdrawal of the amendment to the Daily News.

“It seemed pretty obvious that the Senate wasn’t advancing the bill, and it was going to be a heated debate in our house with it looking like it had a chance to become law this year,” Weinstein said.

Advocates for the bill, including Wilkinson’s attorney, Judith Donnell, were incensed over the failure of the bill to gain traction in the state legislature.

“It’s a shame. Neither the Senate or the Assembly had the backbone to let it come to a vote. Hopefully it will pass in the new year. It’s not something that should just be buried,” Donnell said.

Weinstein also expressed hope that the proposed amendment will come to a vote next year.

“I am certainly capable of handling a contentious debate, but you want to save it for when there is a chance of becoming law,” Weinstein told the Daily News. “We got further than we ever have before, so I am hopeful for next year.”

According to the Daily News, Albany insiders blamed the failure of the bill on there being a lack of time to debate the measure. Skelos offered no comment.

Source: Gregory Maizous

A Coney Island Hospital doctor was honored for her leadership in helping advance the cause of the public hospital system.

Olga Golubovskaya, an MD and an associate chair of Rehabilitation Medicine at Coney Island Hospital (2601 Ocean Parkway), was one of eight Brooklyn doctors and 28 city doctors overall to receive a Doctors’ Day award. Issued by the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC), the award recognizes doctors for their leadership and commitment to advancing the mission of the public hospital system and providing the highest quality healthcare to New Yorkers.

Dr. Golubovskaya, and the other doctors were given high praise by HHC President Alan D. Aviles.

“The physicians we honor on this Doctors’ Day are vital to the well-being of our city. They are helping to make HHC a national model of safe, efficient, and patient-centered health care delivery and care deeply about our mission to serve New Yorkers regardless of their ability to pay or immigration status,” Aviles said.

Congratulations to Dr. Golubovskaya and all the other winners for their excellent service and their recognition. Keep up the good work!

Photo: Maria Danalakis

New York City’s Health Commissioner, Dr. Thomas A. Farley, sternly defended the city’s decision not to evacuate hospitals and senior centers before the advent of Superstorm Sandy, according to a report in The New York Times.

The health commissioner faced a litany of fiery questions from the City Council and argued that the decision not to evacuate the 6,300 patients to safer ground was based on information from the National Weather Service. In the time that an evacuation was capable of being executed, the NWS had reported that Sandy was headed for Long Island Sound. According to Farley, by the time it was clear that the storm would strike the heart of the city, it was too late to perform a mass evacuation.

“We couldn’t have accomplished the evacuation of everybody in Zone A before zero hour,” Farley stated at a council meeting, according to the Times.

Despite Farley’s insistence that the combination of inaccurate information and bad timing were the main cause of blame for the mess left in Sandy’s wake, City Council members wouldn’t let him off the hook.

“It was chaotic,” said Councilman David Greenfield, commenting on his own experience of observing barefoot seniors hurried out of Coney Island nursing homes, according to the New York Daily News. “It looked like a Third World country.”

The emergency evacuations that ensued following the storm were also poorly organized, leaving many family members in the dark as to where their loved ones were sent.

In the face of rigorous criticism, Farley insisted that, “due to the heroic efforts of many people, no one lost their lives in health care facilities because of the storm,” a fact that was not swallowed whole by Council members, according to the Times:

Some council members disputed that assessment, saying they believed that some deaths of old people that had been attributed to natural causes should actually have been ascribed to the storm. Dr. Farley said he was willing to look into any such deaths, but that the ultimate decision was up to the medical examiner, who had not confirmed those suspicions.

Correction (1/29/2013 at 10:41 a.m.): The original version of this article indicated the Councilman Greenfield witnessed barefoot seniors exiting Coney Island Hospital. That was an error. He witnessed them leaving Coney Island nursing homes, and the article has been amended to reflect this. We regret any confusion this may have caused.

Medical equipment! (Source: Stanford Medical History Center/Flick)

The following is a press release from the offices of State Senator David Storobin:

State Senator David Storobin (R-Brooklyn) announced that his district office in cooperation with FEMA, Project Chernobl and Dr. Igor Branovan will be helping doctors and other medical professionals get free medical equipment and furniture that has been generously donated.

The deadline to register is Tuesday, December 18, 2012.

Anyone interested may call Victoria Spodek at (718) 743-8610 or stop by our office during business hours at 2201 Avenue U.

We got the following e-mail about a Voorhies Avenue-based physician working with FEMA to obtain expensive replacement equipment for local doctors hit by Sandy:

Hurricane Sandy’s devastation has required our community to begin a long and difficult recovery. One of the hardest hit sectors was the medical community where many physicians have lost vital equipment. Many of these offices will not be able to continue serving the community without a “loan-free” solution. FEMA is attempting, through a collaborative effort with Dr. Daniel Branovan, to find much needed replacement equipment for local medical offices. He is currently compiling a database of equipment that local physicians desperately need. We hope to make this database as complete as possible by reaching out on a wide reaching forum such as yours. If possible, please make any kind of announcement for local physicians, who experienced losses, to email their contact information to as soon as they can so they can be informed of how to apply for replacement equipment.

Dr. Branovan is also working with Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz in trying to get FEMA to raise the $25,000 cap on the one percent interest business loans, saying that the amount wouldn’t even cover the cost of one piece of machinery in some medical offices.

Photo: Maria Danalakis

Superstorm Sandy crippled much of the New York’s infrastructure, stretching the deployment of emergency personnel and resources thin as whole sections of the city were left in the dark and rendered inoperable. New York’s hospitals are still dealing with the holes caused by Sandy’s disruption, especially by closing Coney Island Hospital, according to a report in the New York Times.

Since the storm blew over late last October, New York’s hospitals have seen a spike of emergency room patients, many being admitted in non-local centers whose staffs are pushed to the limit to deal with the influx. Doctors and nurses are working extra shifts and overtime, offices and lobbies have been converted into temporary care rooms, and extra beds are at a premium, forcing some hospitals to make emergency visits to local furniture stores to meet the demand.

Brooklyn patients, many ousted by the closure of Coney Island Hospital, have found themselves crammed into Maimonides Medical Center. Patients in Maimonides’s E.R. who normally wait four to five hours for a bed, are finding themselves waiting two to three days. According to the Times, “Almost every one of the additional 1,100 emergency patients this November compared with last November came from four ZIP codes affected by the storm and served by Coney Island Hospital, a public hospital that was closed because of storm damage.”

The Times goes on to describe the problems caused by the influx of psychiatric patients to Maimonides stemming from the closures of Coney Island Hospital and many of the adult homes shuttered by Sandy. Extra captain’s beds, which don’t have railings, had to be brought in from local furniture stores to prevent suicide attempts.

The closings of hospitals and stretching of resources and staff have severely affected the work of the doctors and surgeons as well. The Times writes that:

Obstetricians and surgeons from the closed hospitals have been particularly disadvantaged, since they are dependent on hospitals to treat their patients. Many displaced surgeons have been reduced to treating only the most desperately ill, and operating on nights and weekends, when hospitals tend to be least well staffed. “I think there’s no question that a lot of people have postponed anything that they can postpone that is elective,” said Dr. Andrew W. Brotman, senior vice president at NYU.

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