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Free medical services offered
for victims of fake San Francisco doctor

By Angela Hokanson, Bay City News Service

June 8, 2006

SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) - San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris Wednesday announced a program that will provide free immunizations and blood tests for the victims of Stephen Brian Turner, the unlicensed doctor who had been performing fake immigration medical exams in San Francisco.

The program is a collaborative effort between the city's Department of Public Health (DPH), the University of California at San Francisco's School of Medicine program at San Francisco General Hospital, the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in the city, and the district attorney's office.

Turner performed fraudulent medical exams on immigrants in San Francisco and around the Bay Area. Immigrants are required to have medical exams done in order to obtain residency in the U.S.

Turner injected many of his patients with saline solution instead of with vaccinations for Measles, Mumps, Rubella, and Diphtheria, and then reported that the victims had been appropriately vaccinated. Turner also took blood from his patients and did not submit the blood for testing, but reported that the blood had tested negative for HIV antibodies and for Syphilis, the district attorney's office reported.

The free immunizations and blood tests are being extended to all of Turner's victims, which could be more than 1,400 people.

"We're happy to be able to provide...the treatment people thought they were getting,'' said Dr. Mitch Katz, the director of the San Francisco Department of Public Health.

Harris emphasized that the program was established solely to help Turner's victims, and that anyone who came forward to receive the medical services did not need to be concerned about their immigration status.

"The people who believe they were (Turner's) victims...will not be treated as criminals,'' Harris said.

The DPH performs these types of medical services regularly, and the department will take the victims at their word if they say they received Turner's fraudulent services, Katz said.

A special DPH hotline with information on how to receive the free medical services has been set up for Turner's victims. The phone line will have information available in English, Spanish, Cantonese and Russian.

Callers should leave a message and their call will be returned within 48 hours, according to the district attorney's office.

The hotline, which will be operational through July 29, is (415) 554-2681. The medical services will be performed by the Department of Public Health, and by medical professionals from UCSF and Kaiser Medical Center if their help is needed.

Turner, 51, pleaded guilty in April to charges including practicing medicine without a license, offering false records for filing, mishandling blood samples, and grand theft, according to the district attorney's office.

He was sentenced to seven years and eight months in state prison and ordered to pay $138,510 in restitution and fines.

Turner saw patients at his "Center for Health Control'' clinic at 2601 Mission St. and at another clinic at 3004 16th St. in San Francisco.

Copyright © 2006 by Bay City News, Inc. -- Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.




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