September 26, 2009 Recent Legal News



Peer Review





US v Read

Mr. and Mrs. Read of Texas have been found guilty of fraud for false claims relating to their ambulance business, Priority One EMS.  They each face up to 20 years in prison.

US v Stack

Dr. Warren Stack of Utah was ordered to repay $1.5 million for illegally prescribing drugs.  There was a plea agreement for multiple infractions and Stack will serve eight years in prison as well as the restitution.   

US v Suarez

Maria Suarez was added to an indictment of her husband Ruben Rodriguez for paying an ultrasound tech at Miami's Jackson Memorial Hospital for patient information.  The tech, Rebecca Garcia, has already pled guilty.  The records were then sold to an unnamed attorney so he could contact the patients for future representation.  This is illegal for the attorney in Florida and he should be without a license soon.  

US v Arizona Heart Hospital

The hospital filed 10 claims to Medicare for carotid artery stenting.  The problem was this was not a covered service since the device was not approved for carotids.  The hospital made up numbers to come as close as possible to the cost of the procedure but got caught.  They paid $675,000.   Top


Zaidie v Doung

Mr. Zaidie had carotid stenosis and went to Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood, Florida.  He was seen by a vascular surgeon and referred to Dr. Hoang Dinh Doung, an invasive radiologist for a procedure.  During the procedure of inserting a mesh into the artery, there was an accidental puncture of the artery and the patient bled into his brain.  The jury awarded the outlandish sum of $14 million.  This is what is wrong with the courts.  There is no reason for this amount of money to be awarded and it will never be collected.  The patient is receiving chronic care by "his elderly mother."  The maximum that should be collected is the amount of the insurance.  The physician should go bankrupt to avoid the remainder.

McCall v Heartland Regional Med Ctr
To Be Filed

Mrs. McCall was having an unknown procedure at the hospital in Marion, Illinois, when a flash fire occurred.  She was severely burned prior to the the fire being extinguished and transferred to the burn unit of Vanderbilt University where she died six days later.  

Ward v Summa Health
Ohio Ct App

Ward developed Hepatitis B while in a Summa hospital.  One of the non physician employees also had the disease.  Ward sued for malpractice and asked in discovery for many items related to the employees health.  In depo the physician who had performed the surgery was asked about his own health and refused to answer.  The trial court upheld all but all were reversed by the Court of Appeal.  

Putman v Wenatchee Valley Med Ctr
Washington Supreme Court  

 In a malpractice case the Washington Supreme Court voided the law that required a certificate of merit prior to filing a med mal case.  This infringed on the power of the judiciary to set court procedures.  The Court also stated that to require a certificate of merit prior to filing may not be possible prior to discovery.        

Wise v Heritage Assisted Living
Tenn Ct App

The mother was admitted to the home by the daughter under a POA.  The mother fell in the nursing home and died of her injuries.  The daughter sued but the home said arbitration was required due to the daughter's signature on the admitting  forms.  The problem was the POA expressly stated that the POA was not effective to enter a nursing home unless a physician had declared the mother incompetent.  That never occurred so the daughter signed the papers illegally and can now sue.   Top 

Peer Review

Issiah v WMHS Braddock Hosp
4th Circ

Dr. Isaac Issiah, a surgeon, had his privileges removed by the hospital.  He sued but needed a different attorney.  The district court ruled that the hospital was entitled to summary judgment under HCQIA and the Maryland peer review law.  His attorney only challenged and appealed the HCQIA and forgot about the state rule.  The Maryland law is broader than HCQIA and the appellate court ruled since it wasn't challenged even if he won the HCQIA part he would still lose.         Top


Patient Physician Alliance v ValleyCare
Alameda Superior Ct.

In my last legal news I mistakenly stated that the suit was thrown out.  What was tossed was the first volley, the court refused to enter a TRO against ValleyCare.  The case actually is proceeding to court.  The following is the original erroneous posting:

Patient-Physician Alliance v ValleyCare
Alameda Superior Ct. Cal.

The organization sued the hospital for hiring physicians against the California law and not providing the required community benefit.  The organization went to court to stop the hospital's operations.  The court threw out the suit.  Duh! It sounds like this organization better have alot of money if they want to go on this course of action.  Usually the only winner in these are the attorneys.         Top


Boggi v MedReview 

The Maryland Medical Review Board was sued by the physician after they refused retraining for the physician who had lost his license.  The physician did not name state actors and was also deemed to have disordered thinking so even with remediation he could not be a physician.        Top


Greenberg v Blue Cross
Small Claims Ct.

Greenberg sued Blue Cross in small claims court for overcharging him over several years $5,750 in premiums.  He won that plus interest and court costs for a total of $7,300.  The 30 days for appeal has not run out.


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.