Doctors Behaving Badly: Anesthesiologist blows himself up with homemade bomb

Published on
December 2, 2009

For Mark Campano's entire career as an anesthesiologist, other doctors worried that he was a bomb waiting to go off. They saw him showing up for work drowsy and agitated from weeks of caffeinated days and alcohol-soaked nights. They counseled him about his drug abuse and urged him to stop.

Last week, Campano literally blew himself up. He is accused of stockpiling illegal weapons in his apartment in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. While loading a shotgun shell, he triggered an explosion that shook his apartment complex and left Campano bleeding. The police arrived. Campano's neighbors were evacuated, and Campano himself was arrested and charged with unlawful possession of a bomb. Thomas J. Sheeran of the Associated Press reported:

An affidavit filed in federal court in Akron said Mark Campano told an FBI agent that he "did indeed" build the pipe bombs found this week at his apartment in Cuyahoga Falls. Neither Campano nor the FBI agent who talked to him described a motive or possible target in the affidavit...

The FBI found 35 bombs made out of copper pipe, PVC pipe, explosive powder, end caps and, of course, fuse. Agents also found various firearms and enough ammunition to arm a militia. Other apartments were evacuated, but no one else was hurt.

WEWS in Cleveland posted some footage of the bombed-out apartment.

This is just the latest disappointment for the troubled Campano, whose medical career was derailed by drug and alcohol abuse.

Campano, 56, graduated from medical school at Wright State University in Ohio, and he trained at hospitals in Akron and Miami. He only had his medical license for one year when, in 1987, the anesthesiologists he was working with "noticed that he appeared to be under the influence of drugs," according to the State Medical Board of Ohio. He admitted to a regular diet of alcohol and benzodiazepine at night and caffeine during the day. A 28-day inpatient treatment program and two years of follow-up treatment didn't do the trick.

He left Ohio and found work in West Virginia for a few years before he fell into another bout of substance abuse and was forced to give up his license there in 1993. Back in treatment, Campano was diagnosed with "recurrent major depression, alcohol dependence, and poly drug abuse," according to board records. Based on what happened in West Virginia, the Ohio board put Campano on 10 years of probation and ordered him to stay away from drugs and alcohol.

Campano couldn't keep a job at a series of Cleveland hospitals. In February 1999, Campano was in a motorcycle accident and started to prescribe himself a blood pressure drug that had the same effect as a painkiller but would go undetected in the weekly urine tests that the board required for Campano to maintain his license.

He couldn't keep his self-dosing hidden forever, though. The board finally found out in 2005, after Campano again checked himself into drug treatment. This time, the board took his license away. Permanently.

Know your doctor: Before going in for surgery, it's not enough to know the background of your surgeon. You should find out who else is going to be in the operating room, especially the anesthesiologist. Where did they train and what problems, if any, have they had in the past? Ask the hospital or the physician's group where the doctor has practiced before and check those states for disciplinary records. One good first stop for checking out physicians in multiple states is here.