Myrtle Beach dermatology office suddenly closes without notifying patients, providing medical records

Published: Apr. 3, 2023 at 1:26 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 3, 2023 at 4:45 PM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) – The state of South Carolina is helping patients get their medical records after a Myrtle Beach dermatology office suddenly closed.

The South Carolina Board of Medical Examiners recently became aware that the Dermatology and Skin Cancer Center of South Carolina located on Highway 17 Bypass in Myrtle Beach abruptly closed without notifying its patients.

The last day it was open was on Feb. 17 and was expected to reopen on Feb. 20 under new ownership, but the transfer of ownership didn’t take place and the office never reopened.

The center was owned by Dr. Joseph Masessa who died on Nov. 1, 2019 in a plane crash.

Since that time, a family member, who lives in New Jersey, had been operating the practice but wasn’t a licensed physician in South Carolina.

“This family member employed license practitioners who treated patients at the Center, although some practitioners were only at the practice site once a month but otherwise regularly practiced elsewhere,” an order from the Board of Medical Examiners stated.

The order also states that the Board of Medical Examiners was never contacted about the closure and the board has not heard from the family member.

Former patients of the Dermatology and Skin Cancer Center have gone 40 days without any ability to get ahold of their medical records.

“The right of patients to obtain their medical records is of vital importance. It allows a patient to seek continuity of care of their ongoing medical problems, allows treatment to resume rather than restart, saves the patient the time that would be necessary to find a new physician to start care over from the beginning, and saves the expense of having procedures repeated,” according to the order.

The documents state that since the board found there is no responsible party who has custody of the medical records, it gives them authority to appoint a custodian for the records.

The board appointed Dr. Brandon Coakley to be the custodian of the records.

Former patients of the Dermatology and Skin Cancer Center of South Carolina can contact Coakley’s office in order to get their medical records.

His office is located at 5046 Highway Bypass South, Suite 200.