The 50th Round

One of the figures who is at the center of attention in Kentucky's Greg Page tragedy, and who indeed is a co-defendant in the lawsuit subsequently brought by Page – along with the Kentucky commissioners, promoter Terry O'Brien, and owners of Erlanger, Ky. nightclub Peel's Palace, site of that fateful March 9, 2001 event, is Dr. Manuel Mediodia, who “served” as the ringside physician for the fight, whose actions immediately following Page's knockout loss have drawn much skepticism, and may in fact have been contributory to Page's current condition.

How Mediodia was entrusted with the responsibility of caring for participants involved in a professional boxing match is a curiosity in and of itself, considering his background and credentials. And to examine this entire scenario with any breadth at all, it is necessary to take a very close and careful look at that background.

Mediodia, a native of Manila, attended medical school at the University of St. Tomas, graduating in 1952. He interned in pathology, and worked in the rural health service in the Philippines until 1957, when he emigrated to the United States as part of a medical graduate exchange program. He did some residency in general surgery, but did not complete it. He attained certification by both the Michigan and Ohio medical boards, though there was no certification from any specialty boards. After moving from Michigan to the state of Ohio in 1963, he did considerable work as an emergency room physician, then opened a general practice in 1970, in the Cincinnati area.

In 1976, Mediodia began to experience problems with the authorities. He was prescribing a lot of diet pills in those days, most specifically Statobex – an appetite suppressant used in the short-term treatment of obesity.

Patients taking Statobex are warned to check with their doctor or pharmacist if they have any of the following conditions:

* Sugar Diabetes
* Epilepsy
* Glaucoma
* Heart or blood vessel disease
* High blood pressure
* Severe mental illness

The law in Ohio specified that dispensing of this drug could not occur until a patient had been examined by a physician. The problem was, Mediodia was prescribing it without conducting a physical. He must have been doing it extensively, because the Drug Enforcement Administration got wind of it, and set up what might be commonly characterized as a “sting” on his operation. One day a DEA plant, who Mediodia assumed was a patient of the physician in the office next to his, came in and asked for Statobex. Mediodia issued him the prescription drug, without an examination, and to boot, it was contained in a bottle that failed to identify it. The result of that transaction was that Mediodia was cited for “alleged excessive and otherwise improper prescribing of controlled substances”.

He received a one-month suspension from practice, along with a subsequent six-month probation period, which was imposed in 1977.

Things got a lot worse for Mediodia in 1991. He sustained another suspension – this one more serious – through a series of bizarre incidents that still have not been fully explained.

“I didn't realize that the medical board required all of this documentation of controlled substances to be written down and sent to them,” the doctor recounted in his October 25, 2002 deposition. “Even if they were expired, they had to be sent to
Columbus.”

Mediodia has thousands and thousands of samples of drugs such as Vicodin, Darvocet, and Tylenol-3 (with codeine), still in blister packets. He asserts that some of them were more than ten years old, and that his objective was to dispose of them. So he threw some of them in dumpsters behind his office. However, they were in a place where any addict could have easily happened upon the samples, and no doubt many did. Whether that was the intention or not is pure speculation.

A neighbor in the office building called in a complaint to police, and Mediodia was warned not to dispose of his drugs in that manner.

However, Mediodia didn't stop. And when he was caught the second time, a Cincinnati police officer came into the office and placed him under arrest.

Mediodia, in allegedly resisting this arrest, then proceeded to physically assault the police officer – a woman who was two months' pregnant. Her claim, in the report, was that Mediodia kicked her and kneed her to the groin. Mediodia denies he did it intentionally, and contends that the officer was verbally abusive toward him.

Ultimately the assault charge was not prosecuted, but Mediodia was once again cited by the Ohio Medical Board, this time for “improper disposal of controlled substances”, and in July 1992, signed a consent agreement that provided for an indefinite suspension from practice, slated for a minimum of 60 days, which would be followed by a mandatory five-year probation upon his reinstatement, something that could only be earned after passing a competency exam – the SPEX (Special Purpose Examination).

Mediodia didn't practice medicine from July 1992 until June 12, 1996. The reason? He tried and failed EIGHT times to pass the SPEX exam before finally passing.

Once he was reinstated, Mediodia found himself facing another five years' probation in Ohio – a period of time that encompassed the date of the Greg Page-Dale Crowe fight. For this entire period, Mediodia had no admitting privileges at any hospital and did not qualify successfully for malpractice insurance.

During the four years of his suspension from the medical profession, Mediodia says he did not practice medicine at all, with one exception……………..

………………….You'll read about that in the next chapter.

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