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Doctors Behaving Badly: Dr. Alexander Kalk

Doctors Behaving Badly: Dr. Alexander Kalk

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To be generous, we could say that Dr. Alexander Kalk of Creve Coeur, Mo. was a workaholic.

He literally lived in his medical office, according to the medical board in Missouri, and was so busy, apparently, that he did not have time to change his clothes or take a shower.

Walking around in the same clothes day after day might make a guy irritable. So perhaps it's understandable that he took to berating his employees and sending threatening messages to a medical billing company.

"The only good news for you is that since it sounds like you have early onset Alzheimer's disease, you will forget soon who I am or what you did," he wrote in one email. "See you in the afterlife. Never as far away as one may think."

Eventually, he tried to clean up. He, or someone from his office, cleared a whole stack of patient records out of his office in March 2008 and unloaded them into a shopping center dumpster.

That's what got him into trouble with local police. According to the Manchester Police Department, Kalk had been fired from Missouri Baptist Hospital for misconduct shortly before the records turned up in the dumpster. The cops turned the case over to the U.S. Department of Justice. And then the Missouri Board of Healing Arts began to take an interest, too. (If you're going to have a state agency come down on you, wouldn't you want it to be one with the words "healing arts" in its name?)

So what did Kalk do?

He skedaddled.

Blythe Bernhard at the St. Louis Post Dispatch has been following Kalk's case. She talked to patients and
found that that the 39-year-old doctor had closed his practice around February 2009. Phones disconnected. Email on permanent hiatus.

She tracked down a "woman who identified herself as Kalk's sister" who said that Kalk was "being treated for an undisclosed illness, has a good prognosis and does not plan to practice medicine again in Missouri."

OK. But what about elsewhere? Bernhard found out that he had applied for a medical license in Texas.

To try to explain what led up to Kalk's disappearance, Bernhard looked through reports from a state narcotics investigator who, prompted by complaints from Kalk's staff, found several drug violations in his office: no drug inventory, no list of how many samples he had given out, an unlocked storage room full of drugs and, most alarmingly, a tendency to accept drugs from patients that were prescribed by other doctors. This was in December 2006.

A police report that Bernhard found from January 2007 showed that Kalk was $300,000 in the hole and having trouble making payroll. He also had been sued by credit agencies and landlords.

Kalk didn't stay gone for long.

He was arrested in late June on two counts of forgery, and he was quesioned about stolen checks. The healing arts board then negotiated a settlement with him to turn over his license. He only admitted that he had improperly stored and dispensed prescription narcotics, charges that do not typically result in a doctor losing his license.

Bernhard talked with a former patient of Kalk's who summed things up nicely.

"The thing that is the most disconcerting is that this dumping of the records happened in 2008 and I never heard a thing about it," said Pamela Schneider. "Why was he allowed to continue to practice?"

I would add this question: "How does a doctor who is being investigated for drug law violations in December 2006, failure to pay his staff in January 2007 and patient record dumping in March 2008 still have an office to close down in February 2009?"

Patients, as always, are the last to know.

Comments

Picture of Jim Stewart

Alex Kalk is now doing better. 5-24-2012

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I've been seeing Dr. Kalk for my osteoarthritis for quite a while now and haven't had any problems at all. He's a really nice and professional guy regardless of what this article says. We have all made mistakes and arent perfect but he definitely isn't anything like this article makes him out to be!

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Wikileaks released a big thing on him that has more information.

He was and probably still is someone who should have never been a Doctor.

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He nearly killed us on an auto accident- this man should not be driving.

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