Why did police find containers full of pain medication and what appears to be human tissue in the trunk and glove compartment of a Michigan OB/GYN’s car? Answers are forthcoming and they are not going to be pleasant.
Detroit’s WXYZ reports that police in the wealthy suburb of West Bloomfield found “14 containers of human tissue, possibly fetuses, medical equipment and large amounts of fentanyl” in Michael Roth’s car after it was impounded as part of an accident investigation launched in early October. Fentanyl is a powerful painkiller often used in brief surgical procedures.
West Bloomfield Deputy Police Chief Curt Lawson told the Detroit Free Press that they are investigating the doctor and have raided his office and his home. Lawson said of the tissue found in the car, “We do have an opinion from the medical examiner’s office that this is remnants of conception, but there was nothing that was seen within the containers that were recognizable.”
Lawson was not immediately available for further comment on the investigation. No charges have been filed and Roth, 73, is not in custody. Michigan’s attorney general is also investigating the contents of Roth’s vehicle.
WJBK confronted Roth leaving the police station to to ask if he had “anything to say about this investigation.” Roth attempted to hide his face in the hood of his jacket and responded, “Just go away.” The station also observed the raid on Roth’s lakeside apartment, reporting that investigators left the house “carrying grocery bags among other things.”
The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs disciplined Roth in 2012 for alleged practices that were “below standards of care for physicians licensed to practice medicine in the State of Michigan.” Among the many complaints against Roth was a 1998 case in which a 41-year-old woman “requested [Roth] to perform a voluntary termination of pregnancy at her home” because of her “alleged agoraphobia.” The woman was in fact a “bartender” and had no diagnosis of agoraphobia.
The administrative complaint filed against Roth indicates that the doctor “never saw her before performing the procedure” in violation of Michigan’s mandatory 24-hour waiting period for abortions.
In 2004, Roth was told to “never perform a pregnancy termination procedure outside an approved clinic/hospital/office setting” by the Department of Community Health, which also fined him $15,000 and placed him on probation.
A long history of malpractice allegations and state scrutiny have dotted Roth’s career. From 1996 to 2000, according to an administrative complaint, Roth allegedly prescribed multiple prescriptions “with no rationale” to a single patient including antibiotics, sedatives, and pain medication.
In 2002, a Consumer and Industry Services pharmacy inspector found that Roth’s drug control license had expired more than 20 years prior to her visit. A cabinet in Roth’s office held hundreds of envelopes full of “controlled substances” that “were not properly labeled,” and to which the doctor’s staff had access.
According to court records reviewed by The Daily Beast, Roth was sued for medical malpractice in 2012 by a patient who alleged that she suffered a uterine and bowel perforation under his care. The case was settled in December 2013.
Roth had provided abortions from his practice at the Novi Laser and Aesthetic Center, where he also ran an “Eat to Live” Weight Loss Program. According to a court document obtained by The Daily Beast, a complaint was filed last October by Roth to recover possession of an office operated by the doctor.
The investigation into the contents of Roth’s car comes in the midst of Republican investigations into Planned Parenthood, sparked by a series of undercover videos released by the Center for Medical Progress, which allege that the women’s health provider profited from the donation of fetal tissue. On Tuesday, Planned Parenthood announced that it would no longer accept reimbursements for the cost of procuring fetal tissue for medical research.