US doctor sanctioned for 'abhorrent and abnormal' troop training

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U.S. Doctor Sanctioned for 'Abhorrent and Abnormal' Troop Training

(Reuters) -- A state board revoked the license of a former U.S. Army doctor on Friday, finding that he plied students with hypnotic drugs during battlefield-trauma training and performed dangerous procedures, including intentionally inducing shock.

The doctor, John Henry Hagmann, was cited for training he provided in 2012 and 2013 in Virginia, North Carolina, Colorado and Great Britain. Students testified on Friday that Hagmann also performed penile nerve blocks and instructed them to insert catheters into one another's genitals.

"The evidence is so overwhelming and so bizarre as to almost shock the conscience of a prosecutor who's been doing this for 26 years," Assistant Attorney General Frank Pedrotty told the Virginia Board of Medicine

Two students provided the board with pictures of chest scars they received when procedures went awry. Three students testified that others became violently ill or began hallucinating after Hagmann gave them ketamine.

"What we're seeing is way off the charts," said board chair Kevin O'Connor. "Quite honestly, I'm speechless."

Hagmann, who did not appear at Friday's hearing, has told Reuters that he did nothing wrong. Hagmann can appeal but could not be reached for comment afterward.

"This is so abhorrent and abnormal," testified John Prescott, chief academic officer, Association of American Medical Colleges. "In a combat setting, I have a hard time – I mean, there's no indication you would ever need a penile block, ever."

Reuters reported on Wednesday that military officials had long known about Hagmann's methods. A four-star general briefly halted them in 2005, but the doctor resumed his government contracts, earning at least $10.5 million since then.

Two male students testified on Friday about private rectal exams. One said that he gave Hagmann an exam that the doctor filmed. The other described regret that he allowed Hagmann to perform a rectal exam on him.

"I can't imagine a worse violation of trust," said the student, whose name, like other trainees who testified, was shielded from the public. "There's no excuse for the way this course was run."

Colonel Neil Page, who investigated the matter for the Uniformed Service University for the Health Sciences, the military medical school, testified that Hagmann's defense that the students volunteered for procedures is irrelevant because they were intoxicated.

"There was a line that was crossed," Page said.

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