Florida-based urologist arrested for practicing prostate cancer treatment without a license


Just over 3 years ago we reported that Dr. Ronald Wheeler, a Sarasota, Florida-based urologist, had been suspended and fined for unethical medical practices.

We now understand that Dr. Wheeler has been arrested and charged with practicing medicine without a license. Police in Sarasota are interested in hearing from patients who have been treated by Dr.  Wheeler, or who paid Dr. Wheeler in advance for treatment using high-intensity focal ultrasound (HIFU)  but may not have received such treatment.

If you have been a patient of Dr. Wheeler, and believe that you may have been inappropriately cared for by him at any time since 2014 Or arguably before that), you are encouraged to contact Detective Doug Vollmer of the Sarasota Police Department  at 941 954-7080.

For many years Dr. Wheeler promoted himself and his clinic aggressively through the internet as one of the most highly specialized prostate cancer clinics in the US (without a scrap of good evidence to support such claims). We know that patients would go to his clinic for treatment from all across America.

The appropriate diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer is hard enough already without individuals like this making unsubstantiated claims about their skill level, diagnosing patents exclusively on the basis of MRI tests (which is not an appropriate form of diagnosis), and talking them into treatment with unproven forms of therapy. The “New” Prostate Cancer InfoLink would note that while HIFU was approved by the FDA for “the ablation of prostate tissue” in late 2015, this form of treatment has still never been approved in the US for the treatment of any form of prostate cancer.

5 Responses

  1. Those interested can find Wheeler’s presence on UsToo Inspire Forum – he used to post as @Hifu-Doc.

    Here’s the link to a pertinent thread from last year that the Sarasota PD should read. https://www.inspire.com/groups/us-too-prostate-cancer/discussion/watch-out-for-dr-wheeler/

  2. “The “New” Prostate Cancer InfoLink would note that while HIFU was approved by the FDA for “the ablation of prostate tissue” in late 2015, this form of treatment has still never been approved in the US for the treatment of any form of prostate cancer” whereas in Europe and indeed worldwide, many thousands of patients have been treated successfully with HIFU by experienced practitioners.

  3. Dear Richard:

    It remains a little unclear exactly how “successfully” those patients in Europe have been treated. Many of them were treated for very low- or low-risk prostate cancer that probably never needed to be treated at all. Data from studies of the treatment of men with intermediate- and high-risk patients have been significantly less “successful”. And — as I understand it — HIFU in the UK is still only carried out in men who are part of some form of clinical trial protocol.

    We have never criticized any patient for deciding that he, personally, wanted to have HIFU. Conversely, we have always told all such men to make sure it was being done by someone with significant expertise and experience in treating prostate cancer through the use of this technique because there is a very real “learning curve”. I am not aware of any meaningful study in which a defined set of patients (say men with “favorable”, intermediate-risk, localized prostate cancer) have been randomized to treatment with HIFU or some form of “standard of care” (surgery, radiation therapy, even active surveillance) so just how effective and safe HIFU really is remains hard to determine.

  4. Tell that to Dr Klotz in Canada. For small tumors HIFU spares the prostate by focusing on only the tumor.

  5. Dear Richard:

    I am not at all sure what you mean by this comment. Dr. Klotz has never used MRI to diagnose prostate cancer. He does use it to assess risk for prostate cancer. which is a wholly different issue. Diagnosis requires a positive biopsy.

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