Former Sarasota doctor charged with unlicensed practice of a health care professional

Suspended Dr. arrested for unlicensed practice
Posted at 6:41 AM, Jul 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-21 18:07:30-04

A Sarasota doctor has been arrested and charged with Unlicensed Practice of a Health Care Professional while his medical license was revoked.

Sarasota Police say that Ronald E. Wheeler, 70, who specialized in the treatment of prostate cancer with ultrasound at the Diagnostic Center for Disease, has been arrested.

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Sarasota Police Officers went undercover to Wheeler's office and visited with him as though they were patients. Wheeler told them that the office visit would cost them $3,445. In addition, Wheeler also discussed a treatment plan that started at $50,000. During the visit, Wheeler never mentioned that his license to practice medicine had was revoked. 

"He was diagnosing patients with prostrate cancer without any type of biopsy being done,” Sarasota Police Detective Mike Harrell.

The investigation into Wheeler's practice began after an anonymous complaint was filed to the Department of Health saying that Wheeler was seeing patients even though his medical license had been revoked. His license had been revoked since April.

According to WUSF, Wheeler has a long track record of issues with the Florida Department of Health including an agreed upon suspension from practice in 2016 following a state investigation. His license was revoked on April 20 after four official complaints.

"It looks like he’s board-certified in medical fraud," board member Dr. Zach Zachariah said in an interview with WUSF in 2014. “He's one of the most dangerous doctors I’ve seen in a long time…  He’s a menace to society.”

Wheeler has been known for using an unusual style of practice before it was approved by the FDA, which diagnoses and treats prostate cancer without the standard prostate biopsy procedure. 

What's worse, detectives say, Wheeler wrongly diagnosed men with aggressive forms of prostrate cancer then charged tens of thousands for treatment using this machine.

"Some of them are out of pocket $46,500 dollars and they're quite upset about that. They're more upset about the fact that they did not go the extra mile to verify that this was the right thing to do and that's understandable,” said Detective Harrell.

Wheeler used a procedure called High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound, or HIFU, which was rejected by the FDA for several years before being approved in 2016.

Supporters of HIFU say that the procedure offers a noninvasive (nonsurgical) way to target cancer cells that won’t damage the nerves that control urination and a man’s ability to have an erection, which is a risk when undergoing prostate biopsies.

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On Wheeler's profile on the website for the Diagnostic Center for Disease, he refers to prostate biopsies as "unnecessary".

Anyone who was a patient of Wheeler's that has had contact with him on or after April 20 is asked to contact Detective Doug Vollmer at 941-954-7080.