It was bad enough when officials learned that a man with fake credentials posed as a doctor for a decade before being discovered. They now fear it is only the tip of a very disturbing iceberg that may include more bogus doctors as well as nurses.
Questions about Esa Laiho, 49, were raised earlier this month after the daughter of a patient complained that her mother died only a few days after being sent home from the hospital by “Dr.” Laiho. She claims her mother was sent home too early, according to an article in the Helsingin Sanomat.
An inquiry into the complaint raised questions about Laiho’s credentials.
At a court hearing last week, Laiho explained that he received his training in the United States from Ross University, and received his qualification papers from a university in St. Petersburg, Russia, on the strength of those studies. Now a subsidiary of DeVry University, Ross University is a for-profit institution with its main campus in the Caribbean state of Dominica. According to its website, it operates “educational clinics” in some cities of the United States.
The National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health (VALVIRA) says the Russian documents were forged. Inspector Hannu Mannikko told the court the papers submitted by Laiho cannot be legitimate because they show no training period of residency. No country qualifies doctors solely on their studies.
According to the Helsingin Sanomat, suspicions about Laiho had been raised earlier, but had never been pursued. The revelation of the lax oversight has touched off fears that there may be many more bogus doctors with fake credentials from schools outside the Eurozone. According to VALVIRA, there are currently about 500 of the country’s 24,500 registered physicians with credentials from schools outside the Eurozone. The majority of those are from Russia.
All of them are in the process of being reviewed, and at least two more cases of faked credentials have come to light, according to reports in the Helsingin Sanomat.