SARASOTA (FOX 13) - He offered hope to those who saw him, but police say a Sarasota doctor was deceitful.
His medical treatments caught the eye of the Florida Department of Health for all the wrong reasons. But when the state revoked his license, police say he continued his bogus treatments.
Now, police want his patients to know: the doctor they trusted may not have been telling the truth.
Doctor Ronald Wheeler's online videos about prostate cancer treatments drew patients from the across the country to his so-called Diagnostic Center for Disease. Sarasota Police Department Investigator Mike Harell says Dr. Wheeler claimed to be a world-renowned prostate cancer specialist.
“He got most of his patients from the internet,” Harell explained.
But three months ago, Sarasota police learned he was practicing without a license. Documents show his license was revoked after he improperly diagnosed men with prostate cancer using only an MRI, instead of the standard, accepted practice of a biopsy.
The result, investigators say, was that cancer-free patients were told they had cancer. The phony diagnosis allegedly came with a nearly $50,000 price tag.
“They came here not knowing him, not knowing Sarasota. Did everything he asked them to do. Get a room, wait for the treatment, a room to stay until after the treatment and then they went home. They were not aware of this until they started hearing word of mouth,” Harell told FOX 13 News.
Other's in his field believe Dr. Wheeler knew what he was doing.
“He really wasn't following any guidelines of any type and was outside the standards of practice in the state of Florida and nationally,” explained the Medical Director for Vituro Health and Director at Scionti Prostate Center, Dr. Stephen Scionti.
Dr. Scionti says he gave second opinions to some of Wheeler's patients. Dr. Scionti says many of them did not have cancer.
“I believe he used the MRI to instill fear in the patients to get them into treatment,” Dr. Scionti said.
Dr. Wheeler was arrested Thursday following an undercover operation in which a police officer posed as a patient. Officers are now working to track down more of Dr. Wheeler's patients who may not know that they are victims.
“We want the patients that he may have wronged to come forward. They're the focus of our investigation from this point forward,” Harell said.
Officers with Sarasota police seized Dr. Wheeler’s patient records. They'll go over them to see if they can locate any more victims.
Detectives do believe Wheeler continued to see patients following his medical license being revoked on April 20, 2017. If you were a patient and had contact with Wheeler on or after April 20, 2017, contact Detective Doug Vollmer at 941-954-7080. The investigation remains ongoing.