Authorities searching for patients of Sarasota doctor arrested for practicing without a license

Ronald Wheeler, Sarasota County Jail booking photo

SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) — Sarasota police are looking for people who were treated by a local doctor who is accused of practicing without a license and making patients pay $46,500 for an experimental cancer treatment that they had to travel outside of the U.S. to receive.

Officers arrested urologist Ronald Wheeler on a charge of practicing without a license. Wheeler’s license had been revoked after years of complaints about his methods to treat prostate cancer.

According to the Florida Department of Health, Wheeler specialized in an experimental treatment called “high-intensity focus ultrasound” to detect and treat prostate cancer.

Instead of using the standard approved practice of biopsies, which can be painful, he would use the experimental MRI machine to detect the cancer. He would then use highly focused ultrasound waves in a small area to generate heat, destroying the prostate tissue.

The FDOH says this procedure was not approved in the United States until October 2015. Yet prior to this, Dr. Wheeler referred his patients to Mexico or the Caribbean so he could treat them. The cost was $46,500.

Patients found him on the internet and would fly from all over the country to meet him.

“He claimed that he was the world renowned prostate cancer specialist,” said Sarasota Police Investigator Mike Harrell.

The FDOH received four complaints about Wheeler. One patient reportedly suffered severe complications to his urinary tract because of the procedure. Two other patients got second opinions and learned Wheeler was wrong, they didn’t even test positive for prostate cancer.

Despite the license revocation, the Sarasota Police Department says he was still practicing.

Detectives obtained a warrant to search Wheeler’s office where they found patient records. Officials learned he treated roughly 12 people after his license was revoked.

“I’ve already fielded several phone calls from people who at this point paid the $46,500 and have yet to receive treatment,” said Harrell.

Detectives want the patients to contact them. If you are a patient of Dr. Ronald Wheeler, contact Sarasota Police Department Detective Doug Vollmer (941) 954-7080.

Police say people should always research the backgrounds of their doctors before undergoing a procedure.

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