Michael Glyn Brown
Michael Brown (1957 – November 8, 2013) was a hand surgeon from Greater Houston, Texas. Brown was the owner of the Brown Hand Center. He was also the owner, manager, or officer in several other businesses, including the St. Michael's Center for Speciality Surgery with locations in three states, the Achilles Foot and Ankle Specialists, LLC, the Allied Center for Special Surgery, and several other companies.
Craig Malislow of the Houston Press said that Brown was "long a fixture of Houston TV commercials and society." He became notable for his association with high society and with scandals related to his behavior which resulted in the loss of his medical license, a conviction for wife-beating, and a federal conviction for interfering with a flight attendant. His controversies ended with his suicide attempt and death.
Brown was born in Galena Park, Texas in Greater Houston. In middle school, he saw a film of Michael DeBakey performing heart surgery. He wanted to be a heart surgeon, but he said that he ultimately became a hand surgeon because the practice allowed for greater creativity and was "more profitable and glamorous." In 1975 he graduated from Galena Park High School with honors.
Brown did surgical training in a hospital in Stockton, California. In 1988 he founded the Brown Hand Center. Until a time before 2002, Brown made $2.5 million annually from his business. He had a residence in the East Wedgwood Glen of The Woodlands. He also had a mansion in the Memorial area of Houston.
Todd Ackerman of the Houston Chronicle said that Brown's popularity as a hand surgeon was often attributed to the "patented Brown technique" of carpal tunnel surgery, an endoscopic surgery for the wrist. The Brown Hand Center advertisements and website credited him with inventing the technique. The materials contrast the Brown technique with more traditional surgery, which requires stitches. Dr. Robert Szabo, the president of the American Society for Surgery of the Hand and the chief hand surgeon of the University of California-Davis School of Medicine, said that Brown's business has "nothing unique" "in regards to the surgeries they perform or helping hand patients generally." Ackerman said that Szabo and other orthopedic surgeons say that Brown's claim to a special technique is based on the fact that he patented his own surgical instruments. They said that Brown's instruments are very similar to instruments used by other hand surgeons.
In Houston, Brown was well known for starring in television advertisements that show him with Sophie, his baby daughter. The advertisements also aired in Greater Phoenix. Ackerman said that Brown "made a lucrative business by portraying himself as a medical pioneer dedicated to principles of family, compassion and kindness" and that he had a "family-man image". Within the advertisements, Brown states that "In the Brown Hand Center, we'll care for you just as I care for my own family." At the end one of his daughters is placed on his lap and she says "Daddy's baby girl." Ackerman added that "But in reality, he appears possessed by personal demons — drugs, sex, violence — that have threatened his professional career and destroyed his family life." Brian Wice, an attorney, stated that "The commercials made him both an icon and caricature of himself. And that's how the public largely remembers him."
In 2002, the Texas Medical Board placed Brown on probation due to "concerns he had an alcohol or chemical dependency" and for beating Darlina Barone, his third wife. He had been charged with and convicted in that same year of beating her.
In 2008, Brown received the Republican Congressional Medal of Distinction. In connection with the award, he had a dinner with President of the United States George W. Bush and a lunch with Vice President of the United States Dick Cheney. In 2010, he threw the first pitch at a Houston Astros game. Ackerman said that the marital and drug use controversies did not "put a damper on Brown's favor among the powerful."
In September 2011, after a week long trial, Brown was acquitted of felony assault of Rachael Brown, his fourth wife.
On January 23, 2013, Brown filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Florida. The case was transferred to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Houston on September 25, 2013. On September 30, 2013, the Bankruptcy Court approved the appointment of a Chapter 11 Trustee. His case had been filed in a bankruptcy court in Miami, Florida and by November 2013 he had been living in Greater Miami for several months.
In July 2013, he pleaded guilty in federal court to interfering with a flight attendant. On Wednesday September 25, 2013, Brown was sentenced to 30 days of federal jail and was ordered to surrender himself on October 25 of that year.
In November 2013 several of Michael Brown's assets, including two briefcases with a total of $3.2 million in cash, became missing and unaccounted for.
Suicide attempt and death
On October 29, 2013, news was released that Dr. Brown was incapacitated after suffering a cardiac arrest event. His attorneys confirmed the information in a filing with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. "Dr. Brown remains hospitalized and is incapacitated," the statement reads. "The extent of the damage he has suffered is unknown; however, it appears to be severe and, at this time, counsel has no ability to communicate with Dr. Brown."  He was found unconscious at his house in Miami Beach, Florida. Brown and his suicide note were discovered on October 24, 2013.
Brown was taken to the Mount Sinai Medical Center & Miami Heart Institute in Miami Beach, Florida. On November 7, 2013, doctors in the Florida hospital declared Brown brain dead. According to Dick DeGuerin, Brown's attorney, life support was removed on November 7. Brown died on November 8 at the age of 56.
Brown Hand Center
As of 2010 the Brown Hand Center had locations in Houston, Dallas, Austin, Las Vegas, and Phoenix. In 2010, Ackerman said "For all of Brown's troubles, his business continues to thrive." One of Barone's divorce attorneys said in September 2010 that his businesses were expected to gross about $45 million in a 12 month period afterwards. Tommy Fibich, a law attorney, said that the projected figure was higher than the $15 and $30 million annual grosses that the business had in approximately five years. As of 2010, the Brown Hand Center advertising promoted Brown's medical background and mentioned that he has a medical degree, but Ackerman said that the advertisements "stop short of identifying him as a practicing doctor" The advertisements said that Brown trained the doctors who work at the clinic and had been "retired." Seth Chandler, a University of Houston professor of law, assessed whether the advertisements violate the Texas Medical Practice Act. Chandler concluded that "It's a close call. The ads are misleading, but I don't see a slam dunk for anyone looking to prosecute."
The company's revenues decreased after advertisements featuring Brown ended circulation. In January 2013 Brown requested a Chapter 11 bankruptcy hearing in federal court but withdrew it in February. In March a restructuring officer was named for Brown's businesses. In October 2013 Brown Hand Center announced it was closing. By October 16, only the Houston location remained open. The trustee handling Brown's Chapter 11 bankruptcy case had placed the Brown Hand Centers into Chapter 11 protection. The trustee stated that he discovered "significant financial debt, misuse of revenue, and compliance issues" in an investigation.
- Ackerman, Todd. "Troubles belie Houston hand doc's family-man image." Houston Chronicle. Monday September 6, 2010. 1. Retrieved on November 20, 2011.
- Kurtz, Rob. "Nevada's Brown Hand Center Adds Surgery Center" Las Vegas Sun. December 9, 2010. 
- Arizona Corporation Commission. "State of Arizona Public Access System". Retrieved on June 9, 2013.
- Arizona Corporation Commission. "State of Arizona Public Access System". Retrieved on June 9, 2013.
- Malislow, Craig. "Out of Hand." Houston Press. Wednesday October 26, 2011. 1. Retrieved on November 20, 2011.
- Malislow, Craig. "Out of Hand." Houston Press. Wednesday October 26, 2011. 2. Retrieved on November 20, 2011.
- Fleck, Tim. "The Good Doctor." Houston Press. Thursday, January 24, 2002. 1. Retrieved on November 20, 2011.
- Rogers, Brian. "Jurors hear details of accused former doctor's wealth." Houston Chronicle. Thursday September 15, 2011. Retrieved on November 20, 2011.
- Ackerman, Todd. "Troubles belie Houston hand doc's family-man image." Houston Chronicle. Monday September 6, 2010. 2. Retrieved on November 20, 2011.
- Vance, Alexis. "Wife Says Hand Doctor Tried to Break Arm" at the Wayback Machine (archived September 25, 2011). (Archive) Fox 10 News (Phoenix). Thursday August 26, 2010. Retrieved on November 13, 2013.
- Staff of the Phoenix Business Journal. "Brown Hand Center founder faces DV charge." Phoenix Business Journal. August 25, 2010. Retrieved on November 13, 2013.
- "Ex-hand surgeon takes own life." (Archive) KRIV-TV (Fox 26) at KSAZ-TV (My Fox Phoenix). November 8, 2013. Retrieved on November 10, 2013.
- In re The License of Michael Glyn Brown, M.D., Order of Revocation, March 1, 2006, Texas Medical Board.
- Rogers, Brian. "Jury rules Michael Brown not guilty in assault trial." Houston Chronicle. Monday September 19, 2011. Updated Tuesday September 20, 2011. Retrieved on September 8, 2012.
- In re Michael Glyn Brown, case no. 13-35892-H4-11, U.S. Bankr. Court for the Southern District of Texas (Houston Div.).
- Docket entry 457, Sept. 30, 2013, In re Michael Glyn Brown, case no. 13-35892-H4-11, U.S. Bankr. Court for the Southern District of Texas (Houston Div.).
- Christian, Carol. "Michael Brown's missing millions in cash prompts emergency request." Houston Chronicle. November 5, 2013. Retrieved on November 18, 2013.
- Docket entry 59, July 16, 2013, United States v. Michael Glyn Brown, case no. 1:13-cr-20228-DLG, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida (Miami Div.).
- Christian, Carol. "Michael Brown sentenced to 30 days in federal prison." Houston Chronicle. September 25, 2013. Retrieved on September 25, 2013.
- Deborah Wrigley, Oct. 29, 2013, "Former hand surgeon incapacitated following cardiac arrest," KTRK-TV News, at .
- Notice of Status of Debtor, docket entry 659, Oct. 28, 2013, In re Michael Glyn Brown, case no. 13-35892-H4-11, U.S. Bankr. Court for the Southern District of Texas (Houston Div.).
- "Fallen former prominent Houston hand surgeon dies." Associated Press at the Miami Herald. November 8, 2013. Retrieved on November 18, 2013. - Also available as "Michael Brown death: Former Houston doctor found unconscious, dies at Florida hospital." (Archive) posted at ABC 15
- Daily Mail Reporter. "Doctors switch off disgraced hand surgeon's life support 2 weeks after he was found incoherent in his closet following suicide attempt." The Daily Mail. November 8, 2013. Retrieved on November 10, 2013.
- Christian, Carol. "Michael Brown dies after doctors remove life support in Florida hospital." Houston Chronicle. November 8, 2013. Retrieved on November 8, 2013.
- Strauss, Eric M. and Lauren Effron. "Former Houston Hand Surgeon, Who Had History of Abusing Women, Died." (Archive) ABC News. November 8, 2013. Retrieved on November 10, 2013.
- "Attorneys: Former hand doctor Michael Brown dies after being taken off life support," Nov. 8, 2013, KHOU-TV News, at  (Archive).
- Gleason, Stephanie. "Michael Glyn Brown’s Hand Centers to Fold." The Wall Street Journal. October 16, 2013. Retrieved on November 10, 2013.
- Christian, Carol. "Bidders vying for Michael Brown's surgery company." Houston Chronicle. September 20, 2013. Retrieved on November 11, 2013.
- Rogers, Brian and Carol Christian. "Controversial ex-hand surgeon Michael Brown dead at 56." Houston Chronicle. November 9, 2013.
- The Hand Center
- Dulai, Shaminder. "Arrested hand surgeon forfeits parental rights to 2 children." Houston Chronicle. Saturday August 28, 2011.
- Rogers, Brian. "Ex-Houston hand surgeon accused in wife's assault." Houston Chronicle. Tuesday August 24, 2010.