The Toledo Clinic Sued for
Diagnoses of Alzheimer's Disease
Stephen Barrett, M.D.
The Toledo Clinic, a multispecialty medical center with offices throughout Ohio, is being sued by more than 40 people who allege that Sherry-Ann Jenkins, Ph.D., who directed the now-defunct Toledo Clinic Cognitive Center, made false diagnoses of Alzheimer's disease and that the medical center's management failed to take sufficient steps when it became aware of the problem. In addition to Jenkins and the Toledo Clinic, the defendants include Jenkins's husband, Oliver Jenkins, M.D., and the directors, officers, credentialing offices, radiologists, and neurologists on the clinic staff as "John Doe" defendants. The 128-page lawsuit, filed In Lucas County Court on January 30, 2017, asserts the following:
- The Toledo Clinic Cognitive Center, which opened in early 2015, claimed to provide treatment for memory loss with an "all-natural, holistic, non-pharmaceutical approach."
- Jenkins does not hold any license that would permit her to practice medicine or psychology in Ohio. Nor has she had training in the assessment of cognitive function. She nevertheless held herself out as licensed and authorized to diagnose and order or deliver medical services for memory loss, dementia, cognitive disorders, and similar conditions.
- Jenkins administered and interpreted tests of cognitive functioning, ordered and interpreted medical tests, and misdiagnosed patients with various forms of dementia, including various types of Alzheimer's disease, dementias, and depressive pseudodementia.
- The "holistic" treatments Jenkins prescribed to patients whom she diagnosed with dementia included coconut oil.
- Jenkins's husband, an ear-nose-and-throat specialist with no special training in assessing or treating cognitive impairment, was listed as referring physician for many of the patients and signed off on all medical services ordered or provided by Sherry-Ann Jenkins.
- The Toledo Clinic's Web site listed Sherry-Ann Jenkins in its "Physician's & Specialties (Physician)" directory and described her "Honors/Memberships" as Society for Neuroscience; Academy of Neuroscience; Institute of Neuroscience; Brain Research Institute; Academy of Cognitive Function; and Academy of Self-Reported Cognitive Impairment and Cognitive Brain Function. The complaint alleges "on information and belief" that she was never a member of the first three of these and the others do not appear to exist.
- In a press release, Sherry-Ann Jenkins and The Toledo Clinic said "She earned her doctorate in neuroscience, cognition, and hearing from the University of California, Los Angeles." However, on information and belief, her Ph.D. degree is in physiological science.
- At the time it opened the Cognitive Center, the Toledo Clinic knew or should have known that Sherry-Ann Jenkins was not competent, not licensed, and not qualified to perform cognitive health care.
- In spite of this, the Toledo Clinic installed Sherry-Ann Jenkins as a Director and facilitated her misconduct by billing for her services under the name of her husband, Dr. Oliver Jenkins, with actual knowledge that such conduct was fraudulent.
- When Sherry-Ann Jenkins first began to order PET scans of her patients immediately after the Cognitive Center opened, Toledo Clinic employees complained that she was not licensed to do so and did not have a number authorizing her to deliver or order such services. Despite this, The Toledo Clinic Director of Compliance ordered the empl The Clinic also sent refunded to patients and insurance companies oyees to nevertheless proceed to schedule the tests and to use Dr. Oliver Jenkins' number on the records. In the Fall of 2015, after a child of a Toledo Clinic radiologist was misdiagnosed with Alzheimer's disease by Sherry-Ann Jenkins, a
group of Toledo Clinic radiologists complained to the Toledo Clinic Board of Directors that Sherry-Ann Jenkins was "diagnosing everyone with
Alzheimer's disease." Shortly thereafter, a group of clinic neurologists made a similar complaint.
- Instead of acting immediately to stop what Jenkins was doing, the board took more than two months before sending out a letter stating that the Cognitive Center would not longer provide services. At about this time, the Toledo Clinic began sending refunds to patients and insurers who had paid for Jenkins's services. But it did not explain that she was not qualified to administere the services she had performed.
The most serious case described in the complaint was that of Gary L. Traynor, whom Sherry-Ann Jenkins falsely diagnosed with Stage 3 (the most severe stage) Alzheimer's disease. The complaint states that Mr. Traynor was "devastated" by this diagnosis and committed suicide by shooting himself in the head.
The suit seeks more than $75,000 in compensatory damages and $1 million in punitive damages for each of the plaintiffs. Plaintiffs are represented by the Zoll & Kranz law firm of Toledo, Ohio.
This article was revised on February 13, 2017.