Dr. Ray Harron first appeared on the national stage in 2005. Texas defense attorneys had noticed that many (if not most) of the 10,000 plaintiffs with silicosis cases pending in the M.D.L. had also filed claims alleging that they had asbestosis, a highly unusual combination. These attorneys managed to convince U.S. District Court Judge Janis Jack to hold hearings into the credibility of the diagnoses of the cases pending before her.
In the course of the hearings, it was determined that Dr. Ray Harron had ultimately made most of the “diagnoses” of the plaintiffs in these cases from chest x-rays taken in mass screenings, although other physicians ultimately signed the reports that were submitted in discovery. Dr. Harron admitted he had his employees produce form letters of diagnoses and stamped his name on them. He made as many as 150 of these "diagnoses" a day, strictly for litigation purposes. He acknowledged he never looked at the letters. After this admission, he refused further testimony and asked for a lawyer. "If you're accusing me of fabricating things, I think that's a serious charge."
Others seem to have agreed. On April 13, 2007, the Texas State Board of Medical Examiners and Dr. Harron entered into an Agreed Order pursuant to which Dr Harron agreed not to practice medicine in the period before his medical license expires, not to renew his medical license after it expires and not to petition the Board for reinstatement or re-issuance of his license. The action was based these allegations related to silica/silicosis litigation and Dr. Harron's determination and signature on x-ray findings of silicosis for numerous silicosis plaintiffs.
The moral to the story is pretty self evident, I think. Certainly, a cautionary tale.