Although very attentive to his patients’ needs and well-being, Doctor Gabriel Villafane was nonetheless fired for the act. He practiced at the Henri Mondor Hospital in Creteil, outside of Paris. The reason for his firing? Medical malpractice.
In fact, the doctor routinely prescribed nicotine patches to patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease. Sufferers of this neurodegenerative disease know how important it is to find a way to ease the pain. The nicotine was used to complement their normal treatments, with the goal of reducing pain and helping patients cope with motor-function symptoms, including body tremors, muscle stiffness, reduced movement, and unstable posture.
Doctor Villafane’s first clinical test in the year 2000 was inconclusive. In 2013, a second study was conducted with similarly inconclusive results. According to Doctor Villafane, however, this was simply because the control group—the placebo—was not handled correctly. Nevertheless, the hospital concluded that providing nicotine patches to Parkinson’s patients had no added benefit. The hospital sent the doctor a letter of dismissal on June 26, 2017 with the mention, “unregulated prescription of nicotine.”
A true drama for the patients
Doctor Villafane was the only doctor to prescribe this type of medication in France, and obviously he took the necessary precautions when it came to dosage. Incidentally, nicotine is not necessary harmful for health—Parkinson’s patients know this well. The molecules in nicotine are well known for alleviating pain, also reducing the amount of pain relievers patients need to take.
The rumor that for over ten years a Parisian doctor had been prescribing nicotine patches to patients began to spread, and sufferers of Parkinson’s didn’t hesitate to come from hundreds of miles away to benefit from the treatment. Some even came from abroad over multiple years!
The Henri Mondor Hospital in Créteil
A Parkinson’s disease specialist, Doctor Villafane was aptly named “Doctor Nicotine”. Now that he is no longer practicing, many Parkinson’s patients no longer know where to turn. They say they feel completely helpless and misunderstood by the medical community. Nonetheless, many of the doctor’s former patients still go to pay their respects at the hospital, where bouquets of flowers arrive every day with thank you notes addressed to Doctor Nicotine. The Henri Mondor Hospital has confirmed that appointments have been scheduled with Doctor Gabriel Villafane’s many colleagues.