Bonita stem cell doctor's attorney quits, state hearing still scheduled

Interview with Dr. Zannos Grekos Grekos contests that his office has done ...

The state took action against Dr. Zannos Grekos because of the death of a 69-year-old breast cancer patient April 4, 2010, after undergoing the treatment at his Bonita Springs practice, at 9500 Bonita Beach Road, Suite 310.

BONITA SPRINGS — Dr. Zannos Grekos may not have an attorney representing him at a hearing next month against a state complaint that he performed an unauthorized stem cell procedure on a patient who later died.

Or maybe the Bonita Springs cardiologist will have new counsel for the three-day administrative hearing scheduled to begin March 20.

His original attorney, Greg Chaires of Orlando, withdrew from the case Jan. 24, less than two months before the hearing. He's been Grekos' attorney since the state filed an administrative complaint against the doctor a year ago.

Grekos couldn't be reached for comment at his practice, Regenocyte Therapeutic, 9500 Bonita Beach Road, Suite 310.

Chaires stated in his withdrawal notice to the judge that he had good cause to stop representing him, but didn't elaborate.

Florida health department spokeswoman Jennifer Hirst said this past week that Grekos has two weeks to hire a new attorney "and regardless of whether he does or not, the trial date will not change."

The case, which stems from events in early 2010, culminated a year later on Feb. 22, 2011, when the health department imposed an emergency restriction against his license. The restriction prohibits him from doing any procedures with bone marrow or stem cells in his practice.

If the administrative law judge sides with the state, Grekos could face sanctions or permanent restriction or revocation of his license.

At issue was Grekos' treatment of a 69-year-old woman who went to him for a consult on Feb. 25, 2010, for numbness and tingling in her arms and legs after chemotherapy.

Grekos ordered imaging of her carotid arteries and her brain and later injected her own aspirated bone marrow into her cerebral circulatory system.

At home that evening, she fell and was hospitalized. She had suffered a severe brain stem injury and was taken off life support on April 2, 2010.

Licensed in Florida since 1992, Grekos' cardiology practice in recent years has focused more on stem cell therapy to repair damaged heart muscle, lungs and other tissue.

He sends a sample of a patient's lung to Israel to cultivate new stem cells and the blood gets sent to a clinic or hospital in the Dominican Republic. The patient travels to the Dominican Republic, where the stem cells are injected into the damaged tissue.

Grekos has established a relationship with doctors and clinicians in the Dominican Republic who do the injections on his behalf; he isn't licensed to practice medicine there.

The case has captured widespread attention among Grekos' supporters who swear their once-chronic illnesses have undergone dramatic improvement since having the therapy through him. Detractors say he is taking advantage of a vulnerable population with congestive heart failure, lung failure and other illnesses for which conventional treatments no longer are effective.

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Bonita stem cell doctor's attorney quits, state hearing still scheduled

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