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Criminal charges proceed against nose doctor accused of malpractice

Although some medical malpractice and failure to diagnose incidents are accidents, there are some unscrupulous doctors who will risk patient safety in order to make money. One doctor could face 200 years in jail for medical malpractice and health care fraud charges. Authorities say that the Indiana-based doctor billed for at least 53 nose surgeries that he never performed.

More egregiously, the doctor also committed gross medical malpractice which contributed to the death of a woman. The woman's family was awarded $13 million in damages for a medical malpractice lawsuit. They allege that the doctor was so concerned with making money that he failed to diagnose and treat her lung cancer and instead treated her for other ailments to make money.

The doctor fled the country after an Indiana Grand Jury indicted him for fraud. Under the guise of a family vacation to Greece the man abandoned his wife and was a fugitive in Europe for nearly five years. Authorities eventually arrested him on a mountaintop in Italy. The $13 million medical malpractice verdict against him will likely never be paid, but the woman's family hopes that it serves to ensure that the doctor will never benefit from his misdeeds.

"This is a verdict that will hang over him like an albatross for the rest of his life," said the family's attorney. "We'll make sure he doesn't profit from his wrongdoing, that anything he gains in the future will be the property of the family, and that he understands that what he did was wrong and should never be repeated by anyone."

Approximately 350 medical malpractice lawsuits are pending against the doctor in Indiana.

Source: NBC Chicago, "Nose Doc Accused of Malpractice Asks to Move Trial," Dick Johnson, Rosie Powers, Aug. 2, 2011

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