A Wichita Falls, Texas doctor is presently involved in jury selection in one of at least eighteen local medical malpractice cases filed against him. And medical malpractice claims are not the only professional claims that must concern him — the FBI raided the doctor’s office in April, 2011, and seized a substantial amount from the doctor’s bank accounts in an investigation of alleged fraudulent claims filed with Medicare.
The Present Medical Malpractice Claim
In 2007, a woman under the doctor’s care was seeking relief from her back pain. The doctor surgically implanted a spinal cord simulator in her back to relieve her back pain. She had the doctor remove the spinal cord stimulator in December, 2007, when she continued to have back issues. Because her back problems continued even after the spinal cord stimulator was removed, she sought a second opinion from another doctor.
The second doctor found that a wire had not removed when the rest of the spinal stimulator was removed, which apparently was the cause of the woman’s continuing back pain. Surgery during April, 2010 finally removed the errant wire. The woman is seeking the maximum of $1 million from the first doctor for her pain and suffering and other alleged injuries. The first doctor denies that he was medically negligent in his treatment of the woman.
The woman’s medical malpractice case is one of at least eighteen medical malpractice claims that have been alleged against the same doctor.
The Medicare Claims
The affidavit in support of the seizure of the doctor’s assets reportedly alleged that the doctor performed complex procedures using injections on patients in which he used shots that were little different from regular flu shots but he billed Medicare for the more expensive injections, and that the doctor allegedly required patients to undergo the complex procedures under the threat that he would not provide the patients with prescriptions for addictive narcotic drugs if they did not comply. Apparently the doctor had received approximately $11.7 million in reimbursements from Medicare during a two year period. The doctor has not been charged with criminal fraud as a result of the investigation.
Of course we cannot and will not express an opinion whether the Wichita Falls, Texas doctor committed medical malpractice in his treatment of the woman in which a wire was allegedly not removed from her back when the rest of the spinal cord stimulator was removed by the doctor. We simply do not have the facts and know the circumstances and we will need to wait like everyone else for the Texas medical malpractice jury to hear, see, review, and analyze all of the testimony and all of the evidence provided during the medical malpractice trial before coming to its collective decision and verdict regarding the woman’s claims of medical malpractice.
However, we wonder whether the woman would have chosen to be treated by this Texas doctor had she been aware of the doctor’s history of medical malpractice claims made against him or the allegations of the federal investigation into the doctor’s practice.
Perhaps the lesson to be learned from this matter is that it is imperative for each and every one of us to fully check out the background, reputation, and medical malpractice claims history of each doctor we intend to provide us with medical care and treatment so that we are comfortable and satisfied at the time of treatment that we have appropriately vetted our medical providers before they can do us harm.
Just because a doctor or other medical provider holds a professional degree or certificate and may wear a white lab coat does not mean that he or she is the right choice to provide us with necessary medical care. Some of us spend more time seeking recommendations regarding a new restaurant that we intend to try than we spend checking out prospective doctors and other health care providers who can cause us injury or even death due to medical treatment that fails to meet the required standard of care.
If you may have been injured as a result of medical malpractice in Texas or in another state in the United States, you should promptly seek the advice of a local medical malpractice attorney to learn about your rights and responsibilities with regard to your potential medical malpractice case.
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