Oncologist Schilling reprimanded for delivering radiation to wrong lung of patient

Published: Wednesday, December 11, 2013 at 12:35 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, December 11, 2013 at 12:35 p.m.

Dr. Paul Schilling, a Gainesville radiation oncologist and philanthropist, has been disciplined by the Florida Board of Medicine for delivering a high dose of radiation into the wrong lung of a 78-year-old patient.

The medical board on Friday approved a settlement agreement imposing a letter of concern against Schilling and ordered him to pay a $7,500 fine and additional costs and attend five hours in brachytherapy quality assurance classes and five hours in risk management.

Schilling could not be reached for comment.

Schilling, 52, and his partners founded the Community Cancer Center of North Florida in 2003. He has donated his time and money to Peaceful Paths, an organization that helps the victims of domestic abuse. He retired from practice last year, the Community Cancer Center said.

The Department of Health's complaint said Schilling put high-dose radiation into the right lung of the patient on March 10, 2011, when it was supposed to go into the left lung for an endobronchial brachytherapy treatment.

The DOH also said a trial run using non-radioactive material the day before revealed a kink in the catheter that prevented it from delivering the chemical to the lung. The kink kept the line from reaching its target, and the safety mechanism on the treatment machine prevented delivery of the chemical, the complaint said.

Schilling also was notified that the catheter was in the wrong lung, the complaint said.

On the day of the procedure, Schilling ordered a member of the treatment team to bypass the kink detection mechanism by splicing an extra piece of catheter to the delivery catheter, the complaint said. He then directed high-dose radiation treatment into the patient's right lung.

The DOH said Schilling failed to deliver a standard of care by failing to recognize the catheter was in the wrong lung, by failing to see that the delivery catheter was kinked, by directing a staff to bypass the safety mechanism, and by injecting a high-dose rate into the wrong lung.

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