Half-blind NC surgeon to do laser work

The N.C. Medical Board has agreed to allow a Shelby neurosurgeon with impaired vision to perform and supervise laser hair removal and other minor cosmetic procedures.

In October, the medical board stripped Dr. Richard P. Greenberg of his privilege to perform surgery, finding that he provided poor care to patients and did not tell the medical board about his impaired vision.

Greenberg, who performed surgery at Gaston Memorial Hospital in Gastonia until May 2005, struck an agreement with the board that allowed him to keep his medical license but barred him from surgery. He also agreed to disclose his vision problems when applying for any medical privileges.

Greenberg will probably perform laser hair removal and botox injections in Charlotte, according to James Wilson, a Durham lawyer who represents Greenberg. The medical board considers laser hair removal to be surgery, so Greenberg needed the board’s permission to branch into this new line of work.

The board gave approval at a meeting Thursday.

“They don’t have it in mind that he would do a face-lift,” Wilson said.

Greenberg is essentially blind in one eye, the result of being poked as a child. He is colorblind in the other eye.

He has been sued at least 29 times for malpractice, with at least nine cases resulting in payments to patients.

The medical board opened an investigation after The News & Observer reported in July 2005 about the post-surgical problems of some of his patients in Arizona and North Carolina.

Five of the lawsuits have been filed since October and are still in litigation.

“The board was comfortable that the public is well protected” by the change in Greenberg’s status, said Thomas Mansfield, legal counsel for the medical board.