Suits filed in Lucas County courts say the Toledo Clinic Cognitive Center employed a director, Sherry-Ann Jenkins, who did not hold any state licenses but still treated and diagnosed patients. She allegedly used the name and license of her husband — Dr. Oliver Jenkins — to authorize tests and treatments, and to bill her unwitting patients.
The suits also say the Toledo Clinic, which ran the cognitive center, “aided and abetted” Jenkins’ quack practice despite knowing she lacked credentials.
“Sherry-Ann Jenkins lacked the training, education, licensing, and credentials,” a complaint filed Jan. 30 says.
“The Toledo Clinic, through its various doctors, employees, and executives, knew Sherry-Ann Jenkins was not trained, educated, licensed, or credentialed to diagnose and treat dementing diseases including Alzheimer’s disease.”
One of the patients, Shawn Blazsek, said Jenkins’ diagnosis led him to start preparing his wife and son for his imminent death — and he also readied a stash of sleeping pills to take for his suicide when his memory faded.
“I was preparing her to be a single mom,” Blazsek, 33, told the Associated Press about his wife Jennifer.
“Here I am, thinking I'm going to be a widow at 43. What am I going to do?” Jennifer said.
“Who's going to teach my boys how to shave? Who's going to play ball with them?”
It took nine months before Blazsek realized his diagnosis came from someone who should have never treated him. Further tests revealed Blazsek never had the disease.
Not everyone was so lucky in the end.
Patient Gary Taynor, a retired train dispatcher and U.S. Air Force vet, was devastated to learn from Jenkins that he had stage three Alzheimer's disease. Unable to live with the illness, he shot and killed himself in January 2016, leaving behind a wife, children and grandchildren.
According to the complaint, Taynor did not have the disease, and no one at the Toledo Clinic gave him reason to doubt the diagnosis.
Several plaintiffs in the suit say they contemplated or prepared for suicide after meeting with Jenkins.
The Toledo Clinic hired Jenkins in 2014, opened its cognitive center the next year and appointed her as its director.
She holds a doctorate degree in physiological science, but no medical licenses of any kind. But she still allegedly presented herself as a licensed physician and psychologist, and the Toledo Clinic allegedly promoted her false claims about her credentials.
The complaint says Jenkins diagnosed dozens of patients, and touted her “holistic” and “all-natural” treatments, including prescriptions for coconut oil.
Neurologists at the Toledo Clinic complained to the Board of Directors about Jenkins’ “incompetence, malfeasance, and misfeasance,” but the board still advised them to approve her treatments, court papers say.
The cognitive center mailed out letters in February 2016 abruptly announcing its closure, with no stated reason. Even then, the center never informed its patients about Jenkins’ lies or advised them to get another examination, the complaint says. But the center still doled out refunds to some patients, again without explanation.
The lawsuits asks for at least $1 million in compensation for each plaintiff.
The Toledo Clinic did not immediately return a request for comment. No criminal charges have been announced against Jenkins or her husband, who are both listed as defendants and also did not immediately return calls.
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Ohio clinic falsely diagnosed more than 50 patients with Alzheimer's disease, lawsuits say