Reid charges dropped
AFL confirms there will be no penalty for long-serving Bombers doctor Bruce Reid as charges are dropped against him.PT0M0S 620 349
Ten months after Essendon doctor Bruce Reid wrote to James Hird to express concern about player injections, the club's medical staff again complained in writing of ''picking up the pieces of something that was running out of control''.
The reference to ''picking up the pieces'' was made by Dr Reid's fellow club doctor Brendan De Morton in an October 2012 email to Essendon's then high-performance boss Dean Robinson, after the doctors learnt the football department was considering billing Medicare for nearly 100 heart diagnostic checks on players that cost almost $10,000.
In an episode yet to be made public, internal emails show that Dr Reid - who on Wednesday had charges over his role in Essendon's supplements program withdrawn by the AFL - and Dr De Morton were unaware of the extent of the heart diagnostic checks and believed that billing Medicare would trigger a fraud investigation.
The statue of champion Essendon full-forward John Coleman has joined those of Ron Barassi, Don Bradman and Shane Warne on the MCG's Avenue of Legends. Coleman kicked 537 goals in 98 games. Photo: Wayne Taylor
It is believed the heart checks were done in part to meet AFL player health requirements but also to measure the efficacy of the supplements program.
Fairfax Media can also reveal that Sydney doctors Ijaz Khan and Tej Preet Dugal provided sports scientist Stephen Dank with pathology forms that were used to order blood tests on Essendon players they had not personally consulted. Two Sydney diagnostic clinics associated with Dank's Bondi Medical Rejuvenation Clinic and online peptide business provided the blood test results.
Dr Khan is alleged to have injected the WADA-banned drug CJC1295 into NRL player Sandor Earl, an act that has earned the player a 12-month suspension for doping. Dr Khan and Dr Dugal did not return calls.
The emergence of emails showing that Essendon's doctors were not aware of the extent of the heart tests or of the presence at the club of blank pathology forms linked to Sydney doctors raises further questions about the extent to which Dr Reid and Dr De Morton were sidelined from the supplements program.
Both doctors were meant to have far greater input after Dr
Reid wrote a scathing letter to Hird and former football manager Paul Hamilton in January last year questioning the ethics and benefits of the supplements program.
The matter of the heart diagnostic checks blew up internally at Essendon in October last year when cardiologist and equine heart specialist Adam Gay sent an invoice for almost $10,000 for 46 electrocardiograms and 44 echocardiograms on players. Dr Gay, who declined to comment, brought a portable device to Windy Hill to do the tests. It is believed Dr Gay had appropriate referrals.
On October 10, Essendon football boss Danny Corcoran emailed Robinson asking if he knew anything about Dr Gay's invoice, saying: ''Danksy [Dank] said there was no cost for this service!!''
Corcoran was alerted to the bill by Essendon list manager Adrian Dodoro in an email that stated: ''Dan don't have a heart attack! Danksy strikes again!!''
Dank has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing at Essendon and at several NRL clubs at which he has worked.
When told of the football department's plan to recover the cost of the heart checks through Medicare, Dr De Morton warned that any attempt to do so would result in an investigation by the Commonwealth health insurer and added that ''we [Bruce and I] need to take control back of these areas''.
''No discussion re any of this occurred prior to the ECGs (Echos) going ahead,'' Dr De Morton wrote in an October 16 email to Robinson.
''I understood there was some 'special arrangement' and both Bruce and I had made it clear to SD [Dank] that this was considered screening and we would be investigated by Medicare if we even considered ordering 46 ECGs (let alone, as it turned out, 44 Echos as well).
''I feel yet again like we are picking up the pieces of something that was running out of control but under the guise of lots of reassurance that everything was taken care of.''
In response, Robinson wrote an email expressing regret at how things had turned out, telling Dr De Morton that he had thought the club would not be billed for the heart checks.
Emails also show Essendon was also billed $15,000 by cosmetic doctor Paul Spano, whose clinic across the road from Windy Hill was used to deliver supplements intravenously to players.
Other emails show the owner of a South Yarra clinic where Essendon footballers were injected with a host of substances, including a mysterious Mexican supplement sourced by a muscular dystrophy patient, was discussing a business venture with the foreign supplier of an anti-dementia drug made from pig's brain extracts that was also given to players.
The Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency is examining the actions of up to five doctors associated with Dank after a referral from the Australian Crime Commission. Medicare is also investigating allegations of medical fraud related to the Essendon program. Neither Dr Reid nor Dr De Morton is a subject of either investigation and Fairfax Media does not suggest either has acted improperly.