January 1, 2013 Recent Legal News



Peer Review and Employment




Juno v Thomas Hospital
Alabama Superior Court

In a case of trying to save money the hospital insurance company lost a case and $140 million.  Although the amount will not hold the case will still cost a pretty penny.  The facts are that the hospital in order to save $0.02 per line on transcription cost a patient her life.  The physician dictated the correct dosage of insulin in the discharge report but the typist in India mistyped by a factor of 10.  The patient was readmitted and based on the erroneous report the patient received 10 times too much insulin and died.  The case went through trial and the transcription company settled prior to the jury coming back, leaving the hospital as the sitting duck.  It was found at trial that the Indian companies work with about 1/10 of the accuracy rate as US companies.  Even with the error, the nurse at the hospital should have know the dosage was an error and checked the medication reconciliation page of the chart.  This was apparently not done either.  The nurse wrote the wrong dosage (the one from India) into the order sheet to make it look like an order when it was not.  The other interesting thing was that the physicians and most of the hospital administration did not know about the off shoring of the typing.

Malone v County of Suffolk
NY Superior Ct

In a summary judgment motion a physician lost a ruling where a patient of his injured a third party.  The plaintiff claimed that the physician over prescribed narcotics to his patient who then killed four people in a pharmacy during an attempted holdup.  The judge ruled that the physician may be held liable if due his own egregious conduct he creates or maintains the addiction.  The physician will go to trial.  This case was sent to me by Richard Willner from the Center for Peer Review Justice.

Robertson v Lulianao
D Md

Robertson had surgery with complications that required two more surgeries.  The first surgery did not have a signed informed consent form but the other two did.  He sued the hospital and the physician's employer as well as the physician for not giving informed consent.  The court ruled it is the physician's job to give informed consent unless the hospital specifically agrees to do it or the physician is an employee.  Here, neither was true so the plaintiff lost in summary judgment against both the hospital and the physician employer.        Top


Wheaton College v Sebelius

The DOJ wants the courts to put a hold on hearing all appeals from those suing the government over the contraception aspect of Obamacare.  The Justice says that HHS will issue a proposed rule in early 2013 and all cases should be held until this is issued.  What the DC Court may do is to send the cases back to the District Courts until the final order in August.  The Court later ruled that the feds must update the court every 60 days on the matter of the HHS promulgating their rules.

Saint Alphonsus v St. Luke's
D Court

In the last Medicalaw Update I spoke about a lawsuit in Boise between the two hospitals.  The plaintiff believed that the defendant hospital was purchasing too many medical practices and getting too much to the business.  The feds are also looking at the latest purchase of Saltzer Medical.  However, the judge said that St. Luke's may proceed with the purchase by denying the injunction sought by Saint Alphonsus.        Top

Peer Review and Employment

Herring v Augusta Health

Dr. Herring was fired from Augusta Health in Waynesboro, Virginia, for not referring patients to the group's cardiologist.  He referred the patients to others that he felt were a better fit for the patient.  He sued for $3 million in compensatory damages and $350,000 in punitive damages fro breach of contract.  The problem is he has an arbitration clause and the only thing he will get by filing is the embarrassment of the group, which is what he wanted.  He also owns a building that the group leases.  He let the lease go forward so he can collect money for the mortgage.  It is against the law in the state to make referrals for compensation which is what he was told to do.  The judge ruled that arbitration is required.

Vails v United Community Health Ctr
ND Iowa

The medical director of four months and the retiring CEO got into a cat fight and the medical director took a 30 day medical leave but never returned.  She then sued for constructive discharge and of course lost on all counts.  

Nathan v THE Ohio State University 
SD Ohio

Nathan, a cardiac anesthesiologist was terminated from the university for what she claims is discrimination and what the university claims are legitimate reasons.  Nathan requested discovery of personal and peer review records for all anesthesiologists employed during a six year period, all patient complaints and resident evaluations concerning the anesthesiologists, compensation and benefit information for all anesthesiologists, printouts of the chair's calendar showing meetings scheduled with other doctors and in-house counsel to discuss the physician's termination and all other performance-related information regarding any anesthesiologist.  She won all except the personal records.  That is a good win against a university that has a history of hiding the reasons and playing politics.         Top


US v Thaler
Dist. Ct. Los Angeles

Dr. Kenneth Thaler of Tustin recruited skid row people to be admitted to Tustin Hospital so he could get money from Medicare.  He was guilty and sentenced to one year in prison along with repayment of $11 million.  He did this in conjunction with the hospital.  The doctor had voluntarily given up his license.

Florida v Mamone

Drug agents are investigating Dr. Vincent Mamone of Seminole County, Florida.  The warrant sealed all medical records until all patients were notified and were given the opportunity to object to the violation of their right of privacy.  

US v Amgen
Brooklyn Fed Ct

Amgen pled guilty to criminal charges that it placed into the market a non FDA approved drug.  Aranesp was put on the market for off label uses.  The company had to pay a $750 million fine for their behavior.  This large fine is for both the civil and criminal causes of action combined.

US v Sanofi

Sanofi pled guilty to giving illegal kickbacks to physicians for using Hyalgan for knee injections.  They gave the physicians free medication in return for the prescribing of the meds.  For their sins Sanofi had to pay $109 Million.

SEC v Eli Lilly

The company had to pay a fine of $29.4 million for bribing foreign nationals to win their business.  The employees of subsidiaries of Lilly paid money in China, Brazil and Poland.

US v Patel

Dr. Mehmood Patel of Omer Lafayette, Louisiana spent his first night of a ten year prison sentence in jail recently.  The invasive cardiologist was found guilty of falsifying records and doing unnecessary procedures.        Top


Patients v LSU Hospitals
To Be Filed

Almost 500 people were notified that their check numbers and other financial information were compromised and many have already been used in identity theft.  The hospitals did not know about the theft but were told by the police.  A hospital employee was arrested.        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.