Doctors Behaving Badly: Stolen watch? Small time. Check out this five-finger discount!

Published on
October 14, 2009

Dr. Cleveland Enmon, the Stockton physician accused of stealing a retired police officer's watch as the officer was dying, may have learned by example.

Enmon went through his residency at the most infamous hospital on the West Coast: Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center in Los Angeles. While there, he worked in the emergency room alongside Dr. Ahmed Rashed.

Pocketing a patient's watch is bad. But Rashed took medical theft to a new level. In 2006, he was arrested for stealing an entire hand from a cadaver in New Jersey.

Why would a medical student risk his career this way? Was he planning on selling it to researchers, as the former head of the Willed Body Program at the University of California, Irvine did in the 1990s? Was he
hoping to practice his suturing? Did he have grand plans for this hand?

No. Rashed stole the hand so he could give it to an exotic dancer.

She kept the hand as a freak-show oddity for four years before the crime caught up with both of them. Rashed had graduated from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and moved to Los Angeles for his residency at King/Drew. The dancer, presumably, was still dancing.

He was charged with second-degree theft. She was charged with wrongful disposition of human remains. Charles Ornstein, who, along with Tracy Weber, won a Pulitzer for reporting on King/Drew in the Los Angeles Times, wrote:

Judson Hamlin, an assistant Middlesex County prosecutor, said police discovered the hand in a glass jar when they went to the home of the exotic dancer as part of a separate investigation. Rashed and the dancer, Linda Kay, were reportedly acquaintances, the prosecutor said.Authorities believe that the hand belonged to a cadaver that was donated to Rashed's medical school for scientific use. Rashed was a first-year medical student at the time of the alleged crime, Hamlin said.

Rashed ended up with a $5,000 fine, and the incident does not seem to have hurt his medical career. He was licensed to practice in New York in March 2008 and has continued to pursue emergency medicine - just like Enmon.