A former New York orthopedic surgeon who admitted to defrauding the U.S. government and health insurance providers in a scheme that ran from 2007 and 2011, during which the surgeon and his medical practice filed claims in excess of $35 million that resulted in $13 million in payments, was sentenced on March 7, 2014 to four-and-a-half years in federal prison, followed by two years of supervised release. He is also required to pay the U.S. government $5 million and will pay up to an additional $5 million in restitution (the amount of restitution needs to be determined).
Some of the doctor’s victims and their families were disappointed in the length of the sentence, which was less than one-half of the possible prison time that the surgeon was facing: the daughter of a 76-year-old woman who died 24 hours after her surgery in 2010 accused the surgeon of using her mother as “a human cash register.”
Now that the surgeon has been sentenced, the more than 250 medical malpractice cases filed against him may proceed to trial (they were put on hold until his sentencing was completed). Many of the pending medical malpractice cases involve claims of unnecessary death as a result of the surgeon’s greed and medical negligence. Many of the medical malpractice plaintiffs have been waiting years for their day in court (justice delayed in justice denied).
One of the hundreds of medical malpractice cases pending against the surgeon is currently in trial. In that case, it is alleged that the former surgeon and others are responsible for the death of a 78-year-old man who died on January 19, 2008.
One possible wrinkle in resolving the remaining pending medical malpractice cases is the recent request by the lawyer for a nurse co-defendant in about one-third of the medical malpractice cases that a hold be placed on 110 of the cases until a federal investigation involving the nurse is completed (the self-employed registered nurse worked as a surgical assistant with the surgeon). In addition, the lawyer for the defendant medical practice named in the medical malpractice cases has indicated that he may ask that all of the pending malpractice cases be placed on hold until the federal investigation of the nurse is completed.
To read more about the former orthopedic surgeon and many details of the allegations against him, see our September 27, 2013 blog entitled , “Dr. Spyros Panos: How Did One Surgeon Cause So Much Harm?” (“It is alleged that Dr. Panos scheduled as many as 22 surgeries per day, whereas most orthopedic surgeons in the United States perform no more than 32 surgeries per month.”)
If you or a loved one may have been injured as a result of surgery in the United States, you should promptly seek the legal advice of a medical malpractice attorney in your state who may investigate your medical malpractice claim for you and represent you in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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