I realize that there are many doctors in the US, and sadly, some of them die in accidents every year—all too frequently. I still stand by my unintended series where at least 6 holistic doctors, all east coast, 5 here in the southeast region all died within a matter of weeks. Do I know if they’re connected? No.
Do I know if these doctors deaths in this article were nothing but accidents? No. Most in this story might be purely accidental, but a few raised eyebrows so I’m doing a piece on it. I will refine the list later (on all articles) to those who are still are suspicious and let you know when I do.
I’m not adding these to the official list, I just had been asked by numerous people (even patients) to include them in an article. So I think these 8 deserve to be remembered and honored, even if no foul play was involved.
In this piece all are MD’s or DO’s except one DC (Chiropractor) who should have been included in yesterday’s piece about 5 chiropractors in recent months who had car accidents, some unusual. In fact they call this famous chiropractor’s accident downright “puzzling”, even in the news. I’m surprised that even Quackwatch (a site that likes to pick on holistic doctors) had a page on this well known man. Interestingly, Quackwatch has pages on many who have died and some would say they seem to delight in doing their updates when they die.
I take NO delight in writing about any of these doctors, some of whom I knew. Someone who knew this outspoken well-known and loved chiropractor sent me the info.
Vegan Cardiologist dies in freak accident
His name is Dr. Dick Versendaal. Here’s a quote from the the article. Take note the headline says his death is “puzzling”. Notice that his friends in the piece say they want answers about this very well known doctor:
Police investigating a three-vehicle crash last month in Bruce Township have not yet determined why one of the drivers headed in the wrong direction on M-53, causing the collision that killed him and another motorist.
Witnesses reported that a 2014 GMC Traverse driven by Versendaal was going south in the northbound lanes of the M-53/Van Dyke Expressway and struck a northbound 2006 Chevrolet Silverado pickup driven by Knight-Goboly, Michigan State Police said.
Versendaal, a well-known chiropractor who resided in Byron Center, Mich., was traveling alone. Investigators do not know how long he was driving on Van Dyke before the impact occurred, or at what location he entered M-53.
“A front-seat passenger (in the pickup) just saw him coming southbound right before it happened,” Michigan State Police Lt. Philip Menna said. “It doesn’t look like we have any information as to when he started going the wrong way.”
No near misses were reported.
An autopsy showed no indication Versendaal suffered a medical episode or other ailment in the moments leading up to the crash. Versendaal and Knight-Goboly died of injuries suffered in the crash, Menna said.
Investigators have said alcohol did not appear to be a factor in the crash. But officials await the results of toxicology tests to determine whether he had and drugs or alcohol in his body.
“Dr. Versendaal was a pioneer for chiropractic reflex analysis, very well-known and traveled all over the states lecturing,” Dr. Kathleen Roberts said. “Most of us want to know how this intelligent man ended up going the wrong way on the highway. He was such a caring man and I know he would be devastated to know he was responsible for taking another human life.”
Dr. Versendaal’s accident was the oldest of them all this year. His obituary shows just what a well known well loved DC he was.
Next we have healthy well known California vegan cardiologist Dr. Robert Grossman, who just died days ago in a freak accident at his house. From the article on this strange story on a great man who had overcome so much in his life:
According to his sister, two weeks ago, Grossman had been paddling with his Hawaiian six-man canoe team at the Lanakila Outrigger Canoe Club in Redondo Beach when his Porsche was stolen. He typically hid his keys near the car while he paddled. When he returned to his Hermosa Beach house, realizing he no longer had his house keys, he tried to climb up to the one door he knew was open, she said. He had to climb up some stairs, over planters, a railing and balcony to get to the door.
“For some reason, he fell over the balcony and hit the sidewalk right outside his house,” Weiss-Fleischer said. “He landed on his head and whole right side. He was smashed to pieces.”
The doctors were unable to fix all of his broken bones because the injury to his brain was so severe, she said.
This was not the first time this amazing man was involved in a freak accident. In 2008 he was in a “freak body surfing accident”, and was paralyzed from the waist down, but overcame it and walked again! He was extremely healthy and this is what the article had to say on that:
A former chair of the cardiology department at Torrance Memorial Medical Center, Grossman had held leadership positions at various South Bay hospitals and worked diligently on preventive health. He was in his second term as a board member for the health district.
Those closest to him said Grossman was a devoted family man and portrait of health — a vegan who hit the gym, surfed or paddled daily.
“Everyone talks about his zest for life. He had a gusto about him,” said his sister, Carol Weiss-Fleischer, who lived across the street from him. “He threw himself full bore into anything that interested him.”
It was so hard for me to read this one, as he obviously took so many preventive measures to stay healthy (which he appears to have used in his practice too) and was vegan (a man after my own heart!), a cardiologist, surfer, and family man. Such a tragedy. I know he will be missed by countless family members, friends and patients.
Next we have Florida ENT Peter W. Orobello MD who died while on a run on Saturday right here in Florida. Granted I don’t see that he was holistic or practicing preventive medicine (like the first two in our story). We’re not saying there was foul play, but my email box was just flooded with his story today and he sounds like (from what little we’ve read) he was an amazing doctor and family man.
From the official Facebook page about his death just yesterday:
It is with great sadness that we announce the loss of Peter W. Orobello MD, our practice patriarch, mentor, colleague and friend. Dr. Orobello passed on Saturday during his morning run. Dr. Orobello’s wife Jill, their children, Peter (deceased), Katy, Ryan (Peter), Nick, Tayler and Morgan, as well as his colleagues within our practice, Drs. Andrews, Cressman, Wasylik and Stavinoha know that “Dr. O” would like for all of us to continue on, serving the children of Tampa Bay. The Orobello Family has been humbled by the outpouring of love, support and prayers that they have received. They have been heard and appreciated.
If the family or friends haven’t heard about the spate of recent deaths of doctors here in Florida in the last month or so, we figured they might want to. Our heart goes out to all his friends family and patients as he too was obviously loved by so many.
Next we have another sad tragic case that brings tears to my eyes when I read it. I already said publicly I wasn’t doing a story on him a few weeks ago when this tragic accident occurred, but had so many people say that I should at least include the beloved Dr. Christopher Spradley so I will. Dr. Spradley was the Director of the Medical Intensive Care Unit, and the Director of the Pulmonary Hypertension Center at Scott & White Hospital. From the article:
The 42-year-old doctor died around 1 a.m. July 17th after falling into a ravine while showing a friend the new property he and his husband, Will Lowery, had purchased in Salado.
“The unofficial record is this, he was a healer, nothing pleased him more than to announce on his arrival home to his husband Will with the words ‘good news, no one died today’,” said Jackie Mills who spoke at the service.
Since 2005, the couple has owned The Inn On The Creek, a bed and breakfast in town. The former Mayor spoke about the couple’s impact on the Salado community.
The reason I don’t like to post this is, despite the fact it was 1:00 in the morning (1:20 AM is what I read in another article) and despite that he fell to his death into a ravine, he was showing the property to a friend or friends. I am not suggesting that the friend had anything to do with it or that it was foul play. I had not included him in earlier stories, but in some ways these stories have paid tribute to the doctors. If there are Go Fund Me links for survivors, I always include them and am in touch with several family members of the deceased. Some have later sent me updated fund accounts which I gladly include, so send them my way and I’ll link them.
Last but not least we have 2 MDs and 2 DOs, all of whom died within days of each other, 3 of bicycle accidents, one a motorcyle accident. 4 out of 4 doctors were wearing helmets and (according to reports) both bicyclists were found dead shortly after they fell off their bikes. Both were fit and avid bicyclists. No one sent me these, but I came across both by accident (if you will) while searching for updates on one of the missing doctors who was later found dead.
So here’s the facts we know so far.
First we have “well known orthopedic surgeon” (according to the article) Dr. Robert Small. From the article which came out July 15th on his untimely death from falling off a bicycle while wearing a helmet:
Small, 63, of Briarcliff Manor, died Tuesday at Westchester Medical Center. The accident occurred Friday evening on the North County Trailway in Yorktown, said Westchester County police spokesman Kieran O’Leary.
Small was riding his bicycle on the trail near Revere Drive when he fell around 6:05 p.m., O’Leary said. Yorktown police and EMS and county police arrived after a passing bicyclist called 911, he said.
Small, who was wearing a helmet, was unconscious when first responders arrived, O’Leary said.
Small was beloved by his patients and held in the highest regard by his colleagues, said Dr. Michael Palumbo, medical director and executive vice president of White Plains Hospital.
“Everyone is just reeling from the shock,” said Palumbo, adding that the hospital held an impromptu memorial service Wednesday afternoon. “He had a wonderful enthusiasm for life which he shared with his patients.
We cannot imagine how much he must be missed by family friends colleagues and patients.
Just days before Dr. Small fell off a bicycle and dead wearing a helmet, we have osteopath Dr. Wade Shipman 60, of Springfield MO (where I used to live). From the article about his untimely death:
Lt. Scott Kamykowski said 60-year-old Wade Shipman hit his head in a fall Friday near a subdivision. Kamykowski said Shipman was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.The Springfield News-Leader reports that Shipman was wearing a helmet.
I’ve seen countless people talk about what an amazing family man, father, uncle, husband, and doctor that Wade Shipman was. I cannot imagine how much he will be missed. One report said he had been married 30 years and leaves a beautiful family behind.
Then we have the third case: well known cardiologist Dr. Jerry Luck. Do I think foul play was involved? Probably not. But since we have four doctors all wearing helmets (3 on bicycles) dying in a matter of weeks? I’ll include him and honor him (if there is a Go Fund Me account for him too, I’d be glad to add it). From the article about the beloved Dr. Luck:
Well-known cardiologist died early Monday at Hershey Medical Center — the place he had spent much of his medical career — a week after being injured in a bicycle accident in North Carolina.
Dr. Jerry Luck Jr. was cycling with his son, Carter, when he lost control on the Blue Ridge Parkway while descending Grandfather Mountain near Linville on May 10, according to friend and colleague Dr. Nick Mandalakas.
Luck, who was wearing a helmet, suffered a head injury and was airlifted to a trauma center in Johnson City, Tennessee. He was flown a few days later to Hershey Medical Center.
Mandalakas said Luck had been on life-support since the accident.
Luck, who was in his late 60s and lived in the Hershey area, is survived by his son, his wife Kathy, and daughter Megan.
The fourth case was just reported eight hours ago. His name: Dr. Anthony Keene DO, an osteopath and the only one of the four on a motorcycle as opposed to a bicycle. From the article:
A doctor from Pikeville was killed in a motorcycle crash in Floyd County on Sunday.
Kentucky Sate Police say Anthony Keene, 39, was riding on KY 680 near Branham’s Creek when he lost control in a curve and crashed.
Troopers say Dr. Keene was ejected in the crash, and died at the scene.
Keene was wearing a helmet.
I don’t think these four in accidents were probably foul play. I just included them as a few asked me to. These doctors weren’t holistic (that I know of—I haven’t researched). I guess the lesson is that wearing a helmet, even when simply riding a bicycle, doesn’t necessarily protect you. It also shows how quickly our lives can be taken away from us or those around us, so treasure every moment with your loved ones.
The first story of Dr. Versendaal does concern me, and the fact that many folks keep writing me about how puzzling it is, and even the papers say so is troubling. As far as the rest—make of them what you will. I am just sharing stories shared with me or ones that were odd. The preventive medicine vegan cardiologist Dr. Grossman’s story is beyond crazy, but it looks like he led an unusual adventurous life, already overcoming paralysis in a freak accident in 2008 surfing, and just wish he hadn’t gone out as he did, as he’d overcome so much and done so many things for his patients and community.
All will be missed.
I know people have asked me to do a story on doctors from the past (all these are in recent months), and I might work on that and take my time, as knowing some of the doctors (not in this article) it’s been very tough, but in time I will write a report on them as well.
Again, rest in peace to all eight of these souls, and stay safe. I realize doctors do die frequently, whether it be accidents, natural deaths, or even murders.
What strikes me with my first series of articles is that there aren’t that many holistic outspoken MD’s (heck, or even that many chiropractors). This is a small community, and I wrote the original series because it hit close to home. We have five holistic doctors who died within a few months of one another all from here in Florida—several we knew. Then two more holistic doctors died shortly thereafter both on the east coast. The youngest 33, another 41. It could be one giant coincidence, but obviously the way my articles have been shared worldwide, I believe many think otherwise.
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