Any surgery carries some risk to the patient. However, there is no excuse when the surgery is unnecessary, the doctor has lied about their training, or the surgery is not performed up to the standard of care. Hundreds of patients of one surgeon in Cincinnati have filed civil lawsuits for alleged unnecessary and botched surgeries.
Doctor Fled the Country After Fraud Charges
A grand jury returned a 10-count indictment against Abubakar Atiq Durrani for healthcare fraud. According to the Justice Department, Durrani “convinced patients to undergo medically unnecessary spinal surgeries then billed private and public healthcare benefit programs millions of dollars for the fraudulent services.”
Instead of serving time for his crimes, Durrani fled to his native Pakistan. Durrani had turned over his passport and post bond but he disappeared before trial. He later showed up in Pakistan and even began to practice surgery before the country’s medical body suspended his privileges to practice medicine.
Hundreds of Victims Await Trial Outcome
Of the almost 500 civil lawsuits filed against Durrani, about 40 have gone to trial. The coronavirus outbreak has caused a number of delays for the rest of the victims awaiting the results in their cases.
In one of the cases that did go to trial, the hospital where Durrani performed the surgery, Cincinnati Children’s, was held liable for $2 million in damages to the injury victim. Jacob Cotter, 11-years-old in 2008 when he had spinal surgery. Durrani had submitted his resignation but was allowed to perform the surgery without the parent’s knowing of the resignation.
According to the family, Durrani performed an unnecessary decompression procedure. However, the screw inserted during the surgery was incorrectly positioned, pressing against the child’s spine. The young victim continues to rely on morphine pain pump delivery, cannot drive, and has limited prospects for the future. A jury awarded the victim and his family $2 million for the hospital’s role in the injury.
Hospitals cannot avoid responsibility just because the injuries were caused by one of their doctors. One of the hospitals involved in Durrani’s cases was West Chester Hospital. As part of a civil lawsuit, the parent company agreed to pay $4.1 million to settle claims that the hospital was liable for violations of the fraudulent billing. According to the DOJ, “Hospitals have a responsibility to ensure that services provided at their facilities are medically necessary and appropriate before they bill federal health care programs for those services.”
The problems with Durrani’s eligibility to practice began with lies in his application. When applying for an Ohio medical license, Durrani claimed he attended Bolan Medical College and graduated from the Army Medical College in Pakistan, neither of which were true.
In 2009, a number of local doctors raised questions about Durrani’s practices, claiming he was performing unnecessary and fraudulent surgeries. However, the Ohio Medical Board failed to take any action to investigate the claims.
Use of Unapproved Products During Surgery
Another claim involving malpractice involves Durrani’s use of an unapproved product. Durrani had an ownership interest in a company that produced an implant called PureGen, and used the product in his surgeries, outside of approved clinical use.
Unnecessary Surgeries and Medical Malpractice
Unnecessary surgeries put patients at risk of injury, pain, and even death. If a doctor or hospital was not honest about the need or risks of a surgery that injured a family member, contact the medical malpractice lawyers at Gilman & Bedigian. Contact the birth injury lawyers at Gilman & Bedigian online to get started on your case.
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