Attorneys representing 500 plaintiffs in medical malpractice lawsuits against one doctor and multiple Ohio hospitals are seeking to consolidate their cases before a single judge. The cases in a motion to consolidate must have a single legal question or area of dispute in common.
In the Ohio case, the patients claim the doctor who specialized in spinal surgeries, performed medically unnecessary procedures causing permanent damage. And federal investigators believe he billed millions of dollars to Medicare and private healthcare programs for those unnecessary surgeries.
The surgeon was arrested in 2013 on federal charges, stemming from a complaint that he “convinced patients to undergo medically unnecessary spinal surgeries then billed private and public health care benefit programs for the fraudulent services.”
A federal grand jury indicted him on 46 charges, including performing unnecessary surgeries. He is also accused of:
- Allowing another surgeon to operate in his name;
- Allowing other employees to write prescriptions for Oxycodone on orders that he pre-signed;
- Knowingly leaving a guide wire inside a patient during surgery without giving them notice; and
- Billing private and public healthcare benefits programs for fraudulent services.
The doctor plead not guilty at his arraignment. He faces up to 25 years in prison — as many as 20 years in prison for healthcare fraud and up to five years in prison for making false statements in healthcare matters.
In just three years, from 2010 to 2013, federal investigators claim the doctor billed Medicare about $11 million for three times as many interior lumbar fusion surgeries than he actually performed. Although the doctor pocketed several million dollars, most of the money went the hospitals where the surgeon performed the operations. Hospitals also are included in the civil lawsuits.
Even as federal investigators were bringing charges against the doctor, civil attorneys had filed multiple medical malpractice lawsuits against the doctor for performing unnecessary spine and neck surgeries. Attorneys for the patients claim some individuals had up to seven unnecessary surgeries. After the indictment, the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure issued an emergency order to suspend his license to practice.
The Pakistani-born doctor who, according to court documents is a permanent resident of the United States, was freed on bond and was ordered by the court to surrender his passport. Nevertheless, before his 2014 trial was to start, the doctor disappeared. He has since been tracked to Lahore, Pakistan, where he has set up another spine surgery clinic and joined the staff of a large hospital.
Lawsuits are proceeding without the doctor, and at least one has been decided. A jury found the doctor guilty of negligence and malpractice and awarded the former patient more than $1 million.
If you have been injured or a loved one killed due to negligence and malpractice by a doctor, you may be entitled to compensation. Call the offices of trial attorneys Charles Gilman and Briggs Bedigian at 800-529-6162 or contact them online. The firm handles cases in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C.