Quarrie, surgeon falsely accused of removing wrong body part, fights back


Dr. Ricardo Quarrie
Dr. Ricardo Quarrie. Photo/CNN

In Summary

  • The surgeon said he's been angry and struggled with periods of depression from being wrongly accused.
  • Digital experts say it might be too late to reverse the damage to Quarrie's career.
  • When patients do a Google search, the old stories that say Quarrie lied might appear higher on the search.

Two years ago, Dr. Ricardo Quarrie, a cardiothoracic fellow at Yale New Haven Hospital, was publicly accused of lying to a patient to cover up a surgical mistake.

The stories went viral and the ramifications were swift and severe: Quarrie says he became a “pariah” and potential employers have shunned him.

Accused of such a heinous act, his promising future in a prestigious field disappeared. Now, the lawyer who accused Quarrie has recanted.

CNN exclusively obtained a copy of the July 16 statement from New Haven, Connecticut, attorney Joel Faxon.

In his statement, Faxon said Quarrie did not lie to his client, who was a patient at Yale.

“The statements attributed to Dr. Quarrie were made by another health care practitioner at the hospital, or his designee,” Faxon wrote. “I hope this letter clarifies any misunderstandings.”

Multiple news outlets, including CNN, covered Faxon’s original remarks accusing Quarrie of lying to the patient.

Even though it’s been two years, those stories show up prominently on the first page of a Google search of Quarrie’s name.

“Employers told me I was very qualified for positions, but patients Google their doctors, and they didn’t feel like they could refer patients to me,” said the cardiothoracic surgeon, who trained at Yale, the Cleveland Clinic and Ohio State.

“It’s been a nightmare,” added Quarrie, the father of two young children. “The spread of that information — or misinformation — is so rapid, and people really do believe what they read.”

Quarrie, 36, says the statement is a first step toward reclaiming his name. “But that’s two years of my life I can’t have back,” he said.

Digital experts say it might be too late to reverse the damage to Quarrie’s career.

When patients do a Google search, the old stories that say Quarrie lied might appear higher on the search than any stories that might be written about the July 16 retraction.

“That’s the power of the Internet and the digital age: You can cause extensive damage and ruin people’s lives,” said Craig Bullick.

Bullick is the chief operating officer of Empathiq, a company that helps doctors manage their online reviews but which Quarrie does not use.

Read the full report here

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