Earlier this month physician and chief resident of McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University's plastic surgery program, Vinay Rawlani, was charged with embezzling over $200,000 worth of medical equipment from the facilities of two different medical employers, according to the Chicago Tribune.
The prosecution reported that Rawlani had been taking equipment from both Illinois-based medical centers, Evanston NorthShore Hospital and Skokie Hospital, since January. They said that Evanston NorthShore Hospital began to notice missing items earlier this year and proceeded to conduct a silent investigation.
A spokesperson for NorthShore said in a statement:
"Following the theft of several pieces of medical equipment at our hospital campuses earlier this year, we launched an investigation and learned that a part-time employee was involved in the theft of the equipment.”
When the hospital security reviewed the surveillance tapes, they quickly recognized Rawlani as the culprit and immediately notified authorities. The spokesperson furthered:
“At no time was patient care or private health information ever compromised. We have terminated his employment and are working with authorities to ensure he is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."
The Evanston Police Commander Joe Dugan told the courts that Rawani turned himself in early May, possibly because he wanted to prevent further punishment. In court, Rawlani testified that he "accidentally" took equipment from the Evanston and Skokie hospitals while traveling between them.
The 34-year-old, who was only two months away from completing his residency, was charged with felony theft after the court ruled he stole medical equipment valued at $177,022.
The list of stolen eqipment included but was not limited to:
- An ultrasound machine (average cost: $20,000 - $50,000)
- Two ultrasound probes (average cost $3,500 ea.)
- A video printer (average cost: $2,000)
- A video storage device (average price: $3,000) and infusion (average price: $3,500)
- Compression pumps (average price: $5,000)
- An automated external defibrillator (average price: $1,600)
- A suction machine (average cost: $1,000)
- A bladder scanner (average cost: $11,000)
These costs listed are based on internet prices, but the actual costs could be more or less depending on the item.
Rawani waits in custody after Judge Marcia B. Orr posted his bail at $10,000. Prosecutors say that they lack the evidence to prove that Rawlani was storing the equipment for private use. While this may reduce the degree of his punishment, it won’t prevent him from spending some time behind bars.