Doctor William O’Brien III, who already faced charges of selling prescriptions to bikers and strippers, now faces new charges. Federal investigators say that he cobbled together an alleged “medical device” out of scraps from a propane tank, welded them together, called it a hyperbaric chamber, and charged patients and billed Medicare for “treatment” in the device. According to court documents, O’Brien netted over $4 million for the bogus treatments.
Prosecutors say that O’Brien convinced Lower Bucks Hospital that his device, which he called Hyperox 101, was legitimate. They say that the Hyperox 101 was constructed from two pieces of a propane tank that had been abandoned near a factory in Coatesville.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved hyperbaric chambers for use in the treatment of open wounds and other afflictions. A hyperbaric chamber works by exposing patients to highly pressurized oxygen for extended periods of time. According to prosecutors, the Hyperox 101 was tested and failed all tests required for hyperbaric chambers. They say that the Hyperox was actually built by a company that had experience building doors for Navy vessels, and that the person who supposedly made the chamber functional had no prior experience working with such devices.
Prosecutors also say that O’Brien and others forged documents sent to the FDA to obtain approval to use the device. O’Brien apparently entered into an agreement with Lower Bucks Hospital, purportedly leasing a hyperbaric chamber to them. Employees at Bucks became concerned that the device was actually dangerous, and contacted the FDA and the FBI.
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