‘Monster’ doctors sentenced for crimes against patients

Patients and family members describe both Ricardo Cruciani, M.D., and Robert Gene Rand, M.D., as monsters.

A neurologist who specialized in rare, complicated syndromes pleaded guilty Tuesday to assaulting seven patients at a Philadelphia clinic.

Ricardo Cruciani, M.D., 63, admitted he assaulted seven women while he was chairman of Drexel University’s neurology department and pleaded guilty to charges of indecent assault and harassment by unwanted physical contact, according to an Associated Press report.

RELATED: Sexual abuse scandals: What hospitals can learn from high-profile Hollywood, government cases of harassment

Three former patients gave statements during Cruciani’s hearing, including one who described the doctor hugging and kissing her during a visit to relieve her pain from spinal stenosis and related ailments. “He’s a monster,” she told the court, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.

While he will not go to jail on those charges, Cruciani’s legal troubles may not be over. The Associated Press reported Sunday that at least 17 women in Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey have come forward to charge him with sexual misconduct.

RELATED: Newspaper investigation puts spotlight on physician sexual misconduct

Another physician will go to jail for his crimes. Robert Gene Rand, M.D., 54, a Reno, Nev., physician who operated Rand Family Care, was sentenced Monday to 10 years in prison for involuntary manslaughter of a patient and unlawful distribution of oxycodone, according to an announcement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Nevada.

In addition to the prison term, he was ordered to pay a $25,000 fine and almost $12,000 in restitution to the family of his 33-year-old patient Michael Yenick, who died of an overdose in October 2015.

Family members of patients who died under Rand’s care provided heartrending testimony during the sentencing hearing, according to the Reno Gazette-Journal. A relative of Yenick described Rand as “a monster with a stethoscope.”

The judge in the case did not stick to a plea bargain agreement, which recommended Rand serve 6.6 years in prison because he failed to take adequate responsibility for his crimes.  

Rand and eight other people were indicted last year on federal prescription drug distribution charges. All pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office. Medical professionals are increasingly facing criminal charges—including murder charges—when their patients overdose on opioid painkillers they prescribed.