For the second time this year, a Salinas, California urologist has been sued by a former patient for medical malpractice, alleging that the urologist had the patient undergo five unsuccessful lithotripsies for kidney stones from September 2008 to March 2012 that were motivated by the urologist’s “greed and profit.”
The most recent medical malpractice lawsuit was filed last week and alleges that the “Repeated procedures were ineffective and subjected (the patient) to a risk of bodily injury, harm and physical damage” and resulted in the patient suffering an altered anatomy, weakened kidney function, and extreme pain and emotional distress.
What Is A Lithotripsy?
Lithotripsy uses shock waves to break up stones in the kidney, bladder, or ureter. Following the procedure, the tiny pieces of stones pass out of the body in the urine. The most common type of lithotripsy is extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (“ESWL”) where high-energy sound waves pass through the body until they reach the kidney stones and break them into tiny pieces. The pain-free procedure typically takes from 45 minutes to one hour during which the patient is given general anesthesia. A tube may be placed through the bladder or back into the kidney to drain urine from the kidney until all the small pieces of stone pass out of the body; the tube may be put in place before or after the lithotripsy.
In June of this year, another former patient of the urologist filed a medical malpractice case against him, alleging that the urologist performed six unsuccessful lithotripsies. That medical malpractice lawsuit alleges fraud, battery, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, infliction of emotional distress, medical negligence, and violations of state and federal business codes. The lawyer for the former patient has indicated that he also represents two other former patients of the same urologist regarding their medical malpractice claims involving their unsuccessful lithotripsies.
The California urologist has been publically reprimanded by the Medical Board of California on two occasions: in 2008, the urologist was disciplined by the Board for altering a patient’s records and for failing to warn the patient of the side effects of Lupron (which is used to treat the symptoms associated with advanced prostate cancer); in 2012, the urologist was reprimanded for signing off on a CT scan that showed that he had left a wire in a patient’s bladder.
It is reported that the Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services along with the FBI are actively investigating the urologist’s medical practice that he co-owns, and that the investigation is looking into whether some of the physicians are illegally profiting by referring patients for services at the urology center.
If the allegations that the urologist performed unnecessary procedures that were based on his greed and primarily for his profit are proven to be true, then the California medical malpractice juries that decide these malpractice cases can be expected to be incensed by the unethical circumstances and to reflect their community’s outrage in their verdicts.
If you or a loved one were injured as a result of medical malpractice in California or in another U.S. state, you should promptly seek the legal advice of a California medical malpractice attorney or a medical malpractice attorney in your state regarding your rights and responsibilities in bringing a medical malpractice claim against the wrongdoers.
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