February 15, 2015 Recent Legal News




Peer Review and Employment


Patients v St. Peter's Health
To Be Filed

In the first case that I can remember a manager's cell phone was stolen.  It had the information on over 5000 patients on it.  The information was not encrypted.  This shows the power in the cell phone and why it is so dangerous to use devices outside the hospital environment.  St. Peter's is headquartered in Albany, NY.

Patients v Riverside County
To Be Filed

Riverside county Medical Center in Moreno Valley, California, notified over 7900 people that a laptop was stolen.  This one was also not encrypted and contained some financial data.  This is the third laptop taken in a year from this negligent hospital.

Patients v Anthem
To Be Filed

In the largest HIPAA hack ever Anthem was hit with the social security numbers and other information on 80 million poor souls.  According to the article they deny it was a HIPAA but under the law it is.  Stupidly the information was not encrypted.  I hate to see their postage bill when they notify the people their information was hacked.  The OIG agrees that it is a HIPAA violation.  Multiple suits have been filed in federal courts and some people have begun to be harassed by the hack.  This is a warning to encrypt and manage your healthcare information but most people will not spend the money relying on the hope that it will not happen to them.

Jackson v Mercy Behavioral Health
ED Penn

Tpnja Jackson sued pro se and did not know the law.  She had her medical information erroneously sent from the organization to her dentist.  She sued but of course lost.  A private person may not sue only the OIG (HHS).        Top


Columbia Greater Columbia Healthcare System v South Carolina Medical Malpractice Assn
Supreme Court South Carolina

The dumb hospital attorney sued the physician in an underlying med mal case 8 years after the incident.  The statute of limitations is 6 years for medical malpractice.  The court of appeals and the Supreme Court both ruled that the hospital and physician sued by the fink hospital should be dismissed to to the stupidity of the hospital (suing too late).  They shouldn't have sued their own physician at all.

Butler v Bevrotte, et al

The jury said that Drs. Louis Bevrotte and Floyd Buras were guilty in the death of 8 year old Chela Butler.  The facts are the kid had the flu and the physicians treated her with Tylenol and fluids.  The accusation is that they did not start her on anti viral that may or may not work and were only recommended in the first tow days of the illness.  This was later. The mother took the child to see another physician who did a chest x-ray (normal) and treated her with antibiotics.  He was fond not guilty.   She died and the jury awarded $10 million which was reduced to $500,000, still too much.  A pre trial screening panel said unanimously that there was no case.

The Darwin Award

A parent in Springfield, Massachusetts, wanted to cure her child of head lice.  She did a home cure of covering the scalp with mayonnaise and then covering the mayo with a plastic bag.  She left the kid alone the bad slipped down and the child suffocated.  No charges have yet been filed.

O'Loughlin v Mercy Hospital Fairfield
Ohio Ct App

The patient suffered a traumatic brain injury at birth and was sued by the parents.  The jury ruled for the physician and the plaintiff appealed because the the court did not allow them to impeach the the credibility of the defendant because he was not board certified.  The court ruled that board certification does not relevant in the relevancy of the testimony.

Omni Healthcare v Health First, Inc.
MD Fla

The physician group sued for antitrust damages for being excluded by the integrated group.  The court ruled the case may go forward since the physician have shown they are in the class and they have a plausible cause of action.  I bet there will be a settlement and the group will miraculously be allowed to join if they wish.

Beber v MDVIP
Jury Verdict

In the first of its kind the concierge company was found liable for the malpractice of one of its physicians.  The patient sought care from Dr. Metzger in the Boca Rotan area who failed to diagnose a serious condition that led to an amputation.  He settled.  The attorney then continued against the company who promised exceptional care and quick access to physicians.  The jury found that the company was liable and the case will be appealed.

Patients v LifePoint

At least 15 patients have filed suit against LifePoint for improper heart procedures.  LifePoint self reported two cardiologists to the feds for doing unnecessary cardiac stents.  A federal investigation is currently underway.  After the word got out then the rats came out.        Top


US v Community Health Systems

A whistle blower will get $18.7 million of the $75 million settlement paid by Community Health Systems for allegedly making illegal donations to county governments to get more dollars in a Medicaid matching program.  This was in New Mexico.  

US v Heinicke 

Dr. Mark Heinicke of Louisville pled guilty of treating patients with misbranded drugs and was sentenced to one year in jail as well as restitution of $176,000 along with a fine of $338,000.  He purchased foreign non FDA approved drugs and sold them as the FDA approved drugs.

US v Thompson

Dr. Iswaad Kojo Anakwah Thompson of Delray Beach, Florida was charged with fraud for increasing the diagnosis to a Medicare HMO which in turn paid him more per capita for the patients.  If convicted he can get 10 years in prison.

US v OtisMed

OtisMed was a company selling knee replacement products.  They just forgot to get FDA approval prior to selling them and when they did go for approval they were denied.  They shipped anyway.  People were injured and the CEO Mr. Charlie Chi was found guilty as was the company.  the company paid $80 million to the feds and the whistlebower got $7 million.  Chi is awaiting sentencing in March.

US v Griffith

Wilfred Griffith, a foreign medical physician with no medical license treated Medicare patients and referred them for treatments.  He was convicted of healthcare fraud.  Others have also pled guilty in the scheme and will be sentenced at a later date.        Top

Peer Review and Employment

Wayt v CHS
Jury Verdict

The jury ordered Affinity Medical Center of Massillon, Ohio to pay a fired nurse $2 million.  The hospital was found to be guilty of illegally firing Ann Wayt, RN, illegally attempting to get her nursing license revoked and then defamed her.  This was in retaliation for her patient advocacy and union support.  The hospital is part of the notorious anti-union hospital chain CHS.  The verdict was unanimous.  She had earlier won a District Court decision reinstating her and blasting the hospital for their illegal actions.  Stupid hospital and stupider hospital attorneys for allowing this huge rebuke to the hospital and the chain.

St. Alphonsus Hospital v St. Luke's Hospital
9th Circuit

The hospital industry in reeling again after the Circuit Court affirmed the antitrust claim against St. Luke's of Idaho for their purchase of a large medical group.  The hospital has been ordered to unwind the purchase of the group.  Hopefully, this will become more common.

Stein v McGowan
SD Ohio

The plaintiff physician is suing for defamation after he was accused of doing bad things in his position of head of an cholesterol treatment center by another physician who he brought in to succeed him.  She wanted the court to give her summary judgment in the case and the court said no since there was a factual dispute whether or not she was entitled to qualified immunity for her statements.

Baptist Hospital v Lambert
Miss Ct Appimysician as a counter claim for breach of contract.  First they attempted to get rid of the physician as disruptive and won in court.  Then they sued for the breach of contract and of course lost since they were the ones that forced the breach and that the physician had ADA issues that prevented him from fulfilling the contract.

Texas Medical Board v Wiseman
Texas Ct. App.

In a catch 22 situation the Texas Medical Board temporarily suspended Dr. Wiseman's license for an unspecified time.  He sued and the courts ultimately decided that the temporary suspension is not a final decision and therefore not appealable.  

Obey v Frisco Med Ctr. 
ED Texas

The female OB had her privileges revoked at the hospital for her disruptive conduct.  She was asked to undergo psychiatric evaluation but instead resigned and sued on discrimination and the other usual stuff.  She lost on all in a summary judgment motion since she was not an employee and the hospital had legitimate non-discriminatory reasons for letting her sink.  They were also covered under HCQIA for doing a reasonable evaluation of the facts not an independent one as the plaintiff's attorney wanted.        Top


DISCLAIMER: Although this article is updated periodically, it reflects the author's point of view at the time of publication. Nothing in this article constitutes legal advice. Readers should consult with their own legal counsel before acting on any of the information presented.