At one point in time, an Indiana ENT (ear, nose, and throat doctor) was well-respected and some even referred to him as the “Nose Doctor of Merrillville.” But beginning in 2004, local medical malpractice law firms began getting inquiries about possible medical malpractice claims against the doctor. The lawyers suspected that the doctor may have been performing unnecessary or out-dated surgeries and billing his patients’ health insurance companies for the procedures.
When the medical malpractice lawyers began requesting that the doctor provide his patients’ medical records for review, the doctor suddenly and without warning abandoned his thriving practice and disappeared without a trace. He was not found until December 2009, on a mountain in the Italian Alps.
In the interim, he was charged in federal court with 22 counts of insurance fraud, alleging that he billed his patients’ insurance companies for approximately $350,000 for unperformed surgeries. He agreed to plead guilty and to be sentenced to four years in prison, but the federal judge rejected the plea deal.
When the medical malpractice claims started to pile up, the doctor’s medical malpractice insurance company sued the doctor alleging that the doctor was not cooperating with his defense and therefore the medical malpractice insurance company had no duty to defend the doctor. The doctor sued his own medical malpractice insurance company, alleging that it was acting in bad faith.
While the matter of whether the doctor’s medical malpractice insurance company must pay the judgments rendered against the doctor is pending in the courts, the Indiana Patient’s Compensation Fund, which is responsible to pay medical malpractice judgments up to $1 million above the Indiana insurance cap in the amount of $250,000, is also litigating its responsibilities in the matters. The medical malpractice judgments against the doctor average about $177,000 and range from $40,000 to $390,000.
Two Indiana medical malpractice law firms are responsible for filing 297 medical malpractice lawsuits against the doctor — only two of the cases have been settled and the seven that have been litigated resulted in judgments in favor of the medical malpractice plaintiffs.
If you are the victim of medical malpractice in Indiana or in another state in the U.S., you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and losses. The prompt advice from a local medical malpractice attorney may help you decide how you should proceed.
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