NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – A Chesapeake OB-GYN accused of insurance fraud said he wanted to become a doctor because he loved delivering babies.
On Wednesday, Dr. Javaid Perwaiz took the stand in his own defense. Perwaiz is on trial in at the Norfolk federal courthouse charged with health care fraud relating to allegedly performing unnecessary procedures.
Perwaiz started off by telling he jury he grew up in a small town in Pakistan. There was no electricity or running water. His mother stayed at home and his father was in the military.
The doctor says he came to the United States in the late 1970s. He didn’t speak English and only had $30 to his name.
Pewaiz ended up doing a residency in West Virginia before moving to Hampton Roads in 1980.The now-70-year-old was indicted by the federal government on 61 counts, mostly pertaining to health care fraud.
The prosecution claims Perwaiz induced his pregnant patients early and did unnecessary surgeries on others. It wrapped up its case Wednesday afternoon.
“Surgery was part of my training,” Pewaiz told the jury Wednesday.
Day-by-day coverage: Dr. Javaid Perwaiz trial
Pewaiz became a solo practitioner in the early 80s. He quickly built up a client base.
He told the jury the profession has changed since coming to this area. He says there were no ultrasound machines, hysteroscopies or electronic charts when he first started working.
Perwaiz was old school. Even when he was arrested in 2019, he was still doing patient charts by hand.
The doctor did most of his surgeries at Chesapeake Regional Medical Center and Harbour View Surgery Center. In the beginning, he had privileges at Maryview Medical Center and Portsmouth General.
In 1983, his privileges were revoked at Maryview. He was accused of performing unnecessary surgeries and not writing detailed notes.
Perwaiz told the jury that he believes he was targeted because he was writing hysterectomies were a permanent form of sterilization on charts. Perwaiz says the Catholic hospital looked down on that.The doctor admits he needed to do better at charting, but stands by all the surgeries that he performed at Maryview.
Perwaiz says he has probably seen along 70,000 patients in the last 10 years. He told the jury he only took one vacation in 40 years of practice.
“I didn’t want to take weeks off,” Perwaiz said. “I made a promise that I would be there for pregnant patients for delivery. I told them if I’m alive I will be there for the delivery.”
Perwaiz told the jury he takes pride in his work.
“Every patient that was sent home after surgery, I would personally call every day of the week,” he added.
Defense attorney Emily Munn had her client go through the different procedures he performed.
Prosecutors say Pewaiz did more hysteroscopies than other OB-GYNs. Pewaiz told the jury he believes that procedure, which looks into a woman’s uterus, is vital to keeping patients safe.
“Every condition a woman can have [issues that] will manifest in pain and abnormal bleeding in the uterus,” Perwaiz said.
Perwaiz said he was never denied a claim he submitted to insurance companies.
The defense is expected to call witnesses for two to three days.
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