October 15, 2012 Recent Legal News

Peer Review and Employment


Patients v Boston
To Be Filed

A Boston employed paramedic may have infected up to 57 patients with blood borne diseases.  The employee is thought to have tampered with drugs.  The city does not know for sure if the employee has any disease but is notifying the 57 to get tested to be sure.

Doe v Borromeo
Mich Ct app

A patient accused a physician of sexual assault and held the hospitial responsible for the physician's actions.  The trial court held in summary judgment for the hospital and the appellate court reversed and remanded.  The reason was the patient sued for negligent supervision which they state is different than vicarious responsibility.  Since the trial court did not separate the two the case goes back.

Jarmie v Troncale
Conn. Supreme Court

A patient saw a physician for hepatic encephalopathy and passed out when she left the office and drove away.  She hit a pedestrian who sued the physician for not warning the patient about driving.  The trial court ruled for the physician as did the Supreme Court.  The high court was afraid a different ruling would adversely affect patients and healthcare in general.  This is different than other third party cases where people are injured due to physicians giving meds and not warning patients.  Here, it was only the non telling of the normal effects of a on going disease process.

Patients v New England Compounding Center
To Be Filed

The Center has recalled all of its products including the steroids they compounded that may be the source of the widespread Aspergillosis meningitis that has killed nine people to date.  

Patients v Bradley
Delaware Class Action

Over 80 patients will get reimbursed for the actions of the Pedophile pediatrician Earl Bradley.  The suit was not only against Bradley who is now serving 14 life sentences but also Beebe Hospital, physicians and the Medical Society for not reporting their suspicions about Bradley.  The settlement is $123 million in a trust fund for the needs of the children.

Patients v Exeter Hospital

The 25 cases that have been filed to date against the hospital for hepatitis.  The judge has halted all discovery until 2013 when a conference will be held to determine whether or not discovery will be all as one or individually.  The hospital is also fighting with the state over their access to the hospital's medical records.

Metzler v VA

The plaintiff sued the VA for shoddy procedures causing his hepatitis following a colonoscopy.  He won and damages will be assessed later.

Gregory v Kaiser

Gregory's family sued Kaiser for failure to oversee the use of opioids they prescribed to the deceased.  In an arbitration Kaiser was found guilty and ordered to pay $875,000.  It was interesting that the claim also named the physician being sued, Dr. Magnolia De Guzman.  That usually doesn't happen in a Kaiser case.        Top


O'Brien v Sebelius

O'Brien, a devout Catholic and owner of a business, sued regarding the contraception provision in Obamacare.  The court ruled against the plaintiff and an appeal was filed.  This is the first to be tried on the merits of the law.  Watch for this to rise to the Supremes in the not so distant future.        Top


US v Wyoming Medical Center

The hospital will pay $2.7 million to the feds for changing the admission status of patients to get more money.  This was a whistleblower suit.  The suit did not address the retaliation claim against the hospital by the employee.  The hospital finally has to hire a compliance officer as well as a firm to oversee their billings.

US v Carver

Dr. Diana Carver of Topeka, Kansas, was sentenced to two years probation and ousted from Medicare and Medicaid.  She had her licensed suspended by the Kansas Medical board and continued to see patients and bill for the services.  She also wrote for controlled substances using her father's name and DEA number.  She was also convicted in state court for practicing without a license.

US v Williamson

Dr. Diana Williamson of Harlem was found guilty of fraud and selling controlled substances illegally.  She was to have been sentenced to 11 years in prison but that has been stayed due to a multiple personality disorder that both sides agree with.  The judge had misgivings about the diagnosis since she started an AIDS hospital in the area.

US v Ayala

Drs. Mark Willner and Alberto Ayala of Miami were sentenced to 10 years in prison for healthcare fraud.  They also had to reimburse the government $57 million and $87 million respectively.  Four others have previously been convicted and sentenced to up to 50 years in prison, the maximum.

US v Abbott Drugs
Sentenced (Criminal)

Abbott had pled guilty of illegally marketing Depakote for illness not approved by the FDA.  They were fined $500 million, forfeiture of $198.5 million and $1.5 million to Virginia Medicaid. Abbott also entered into a civil settlement of $800 million for the same thing.

US v 91 People

This was a mass arrest of the people including a hospital CEO, physicians and nurses for false billings.  Sebelius finally used her power and stopped future payments to all those arrested.

US v Voight

Dr. Jack Voight of New Orleans pled guilty of fraud for sending patients between clinics to get money for unneeded tests.  Multiple other people have already pled guilty in this fraud.

US v Cardoso

Dr. Lucio Cardoso pled guilty in the New Jersey payments to physicians for referral scam perpetrated by Orange MRI.  He is getting a criminal record for $75 per Medicare MRI or CT scan referred, $50 per each CT scan non Medicare and $25 per ultrasound.  Stupid.        Top

Peer Review and Employment

Sheikh v Grant Regional Health Center
WD Wisc

Dr. Bashir Sheikh was terminated from the hospital for unstated reasons and then the hospital sent a report to the NPDB. Sheikh sued for intentional infliction of emotional distress.  He obviously had a good attorney since the hospital lost the motion to dismiss.  The physician had pled his case well and the case may go forward.

Akl v Sebelius

Dr. Akl was terminated from Virginia Hospital Center and the usual report was sent to the NPDB.  The physician requested a Secretary's review and the agency asked the hospital for more information which was sent.  When the Bank refused to do anything Dr. Akl sued the Bank with the result being the court sided on all counts with Sebelius.  

Oury v Rapid City Hospital

The cardiac surgeon was not hired by the hospital so he sued under the ADA for age discrimination.  He was over 40 so that arm was OK but he lost on the hospital's good business reasons for not hiring him and hiring two others.  

Greater Houston Radiology v Sadler Clinic
Tex. App. Ct.

The radiology group and the clinic signed a professional services agreement.  shortly after, the clinic hired a new medical director and the referrals slowed. The group sued the clinic.  The Appellate Court ruled that the contract was exclusive and that the Clinic broke the agreement.  This overruled the trial court and the appellate court also overruled the trial court on the issue of attorney fees.  Back to trial court.

Diederich v Providence Hosp.
DC Wash. 

The terminated resident sued for ADA violations.  He claimed he had a herniated disc, depression and a 48 hour bug.  The hospital showed professional issues and of course the ADA issues were not legitimate.  At best the resident had a one year contract and could claim loss of income only up to the one year contract time.

Feinstein v St. Luke's Hospital
ED Penn.

A group of physicians sued the hospital over their pension plans.  The court also looked behind the suit to the physicians wanting out of their contract and go into private practice.  The court did not like to find this out on their own and awarded costs and attorney fees to the hospital for suing in bad faith.

Dutta v USC
CA App. Ct.

Dr. Dutta applied for and was granted privileges for radiation oncology.  One year later it was found he did not tell all in his original application and was not rehired.  He sued for reinstatement.  The trial court and the appellate court agreed, no reinstatement.  The case was interesting in that the plaintiff attempted to show bias by the hearing officer so he would get more cases from the hospital.  This was overruled since it was the MEC that prosecuted the case and not the hospital.  The hiring hospital was not adverse to the physician.  Also there was no voir dire of the hearing officer by the physician when that was allowed.  The court went on to state that if a physician was not clean with the hospital on his application it was possible the physician would not be clean with the patients and non reappointment was proper.        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.