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An Indiana doctor Mark Weinberger faces medical malpractice and negligence lawsuit for the death of Phyllis Barnes of Valparaiso. Besides, the guilty doctor, also known as the “nose doctor,” faces 22 counts of health care fraud for billing insurance companies for surgical procedures allegedly performed on more than 100 patients, which he actually did not perform. His trial is scheduled for Monday in Lake Superior Court, Hammond. The Barnes lawsuit claims that the defendant failed to identify the disease the victim was suffering from, which resulted in her death. The plaintiff, who is the deceased’s daughter, seeks compensation for the unnecessary surgery on which her mother had spent over $500,000 on medical bills and lost more than $1 million in projected lifetime earnings. The plaintiff seeks millions in punitive damages for the suffering and pain her mother had to undergo as well as for the loss of her life.
The lawsuit asserts that the defendant failed to diagnose that the victim was suffering from lung cancer and rather treated her for sinus, following which her situation complicated and she died. The lawsuit contends that the defendant did not follow medical guidelines required for the treatment of the victim, nor did he comply with the standard of care, which resulted in her death.
The lawsuit claims that the defendant performed needless sinus` surgery on the victim and failed to detect her cancer while she was under his care. The lawsuit contends that the victim was unnecessarily harmed due to delay in diagnosis. The plaintiff claims that despite being more than qualified to identify the victim’s cancer on the first visit, the defendant did not provide her with the required diagnosis. The plaintiff, who is the victim’s daughter, says that the defendant doctor failed to diagnose her cancer, as a result of which the 50-year-old died on September 16, 2004.
The plaintiff claims that the victim approached the defendant after seeing a billboard promoting his business. The lawsuit accuses the defendant of engaging in acts of sheer unadulterated greed. The lawsuit contends that the victim approached the defendant with the hope that her problem would be sorted out and she would be treated for her raspy throat and nasal problems. The lawsuit alleges that the defendant offered a wrong diagnosis and delayed the required treatment process.
The suit blames the defendant for performing needless surgeries to pay for his lavish lifestyle.
The lawsuit also blames defendant Mark Weinberger’s assistant Clinkenbeard for not following medical guidelines for the treatment of the victim. The plaintiff’s lawyer alleges that following the filing of the lawsuit, the defendant left the country in 2004.
Fraud Cases Against Weinberger
The defendant was extradited in Italy five and a half years later on an Italian mountainside. After his arrest, the defendant pleaded guilty to 22 counts of health care fraud in the federal court. The guilty doctor fraudulently billed health care providers of two dozen patients for the surgeries he did not perform. He faces sentence in that case on April 27. He is undergoing imprisonment and awaits proceedings on the pending federal cases against him.
Most of his patients have sued him for medical malpractice and the guilty doctor faces 350 such lawsuits. His malpractice insurance provider has filed a federal lawsuit against him for breaching his contract by becoming an international fugitive, which makes him liable for hundreds of malpractice cases.
In 2009, he was extradited from Italy to the United States; since then he has been in federal custody after pleading guilty to involvement in health care fraud. In another medical malpractice lawsuit being heard this week in Hammond's Lake Superior Court against the nasal doctor, the plaintiff blames the defendant for doing a “shoddy job on his nasal surgery,” which caused him physical and emotional pain. The plaintiff claims that the defendant’s act was one of "betrayal and abandonment in violation of the physician-patient relationship." The lawsuit claims that the defendant carried out eight or nine procedures on the plaintiff in 24 minutes, which otherwise should take about three hours. The jury found the defendant guilty of medical malpractice and negligence and thus handed down a verdict of $300,000 in favor of the plaintiff for “inconvenience and discomfort” suffered.
The lawsuit asserts that the defendant made false claims of using modern medicine, for which he charged modern prices, but he actually performed outdated and ineffective procedures. The lawsuit contends that the defendant fleeced more money from patients for the procedures he did not even conduct on them. The suit accuses the defendant of regularly making surgical mistakes and treating patents as “paychecks." The suit alleges that had the defendant and his physician assistant Joe Clinkenbeard identified cancerous growth in most of their patients, their lives could have been saved. The defendant, also known as the "king of fraud," faces up to 10 years in jail and $5.5 million in fines if convicted.
Recent Medical Malpractice Cases
Recently, Marlayna Kineke was awarded $3 million in a medical malpractice lawsuit against obstetrician-gynecologist Stephen Serlin. The plaintiff accused the defendant doctor of negligence, which caused her brain injury at childbirth. In her lawsuit, the plaintiff claimed that the defendant did not provide adequate care while attending over her birth and delayed the surgery for over three to four hours. The plaintiff claims that, due to the delay, the brain injury occurred during her childbirth and she suffered “fetal asphyxia.”
In another medical negligence case, Jeffery W Davis filed a malpractice claim against defendant Dr. John Morse, claiming that the doctor did not perform the required tests to diagnose his colon cancer. The plaintiff sought $3.1 million compensation for pain and suffering, medical expenses, and decreased life expectancy; however, the jury awarded him $2.5 million as compensation.
Alarming Statistics of Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice statistics are astounding in the country, with about 2,500 serious disciplinary actions taken annually for medical malpractice. According to a study conducted by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, medical malpractice claims lives of about 98,000 patients each year, which is quite an upsetting figure.
The Journal of American Medicine claims that over 225,000 patients die from medical errors annually. Medical malpractice or negligence is the third leading cause of death in the country. Of these deaths, 12,000 are from unneeded surgeries, 7,000 from wrong diagnosis, 20,000 from other problems in hospitals, and 8,000 from nosocomial infections.
Statistics state that at least 8,000 physicians deserve some serious disciplinary action each year. As a result of medical malpractice injuries and casualties, the cost in terms of health care, personal care, and lost wages is estimated to be between $17 billion and $29 billion.
Statistics show that only one medical negligence and malpractice claim is made for every eight injuries. The 2001 Bureau of Justice statistics show that nearly 50 percent of malpractice trials were against surgeons and 33 percent against nonsurgeons. These statistics shows that 27 percent of medical malpractice cases went in favor of the plaintiffs.
Major Medical Malpractice Providers in Indiana
Professional negligence or omission on the part of a doctor or any health care professional while treating a medical condition falls under the medical malpractice claims. Most of the states have a cap on medical malpractice claims, thus a jury cannot award a judgment in excess of the cap.
The Indiana Department of Insurance is the largest medical malpractice provider in the state. Medicare and Medicaid programs also fund hospital mistakes and preventable errors.
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