One of the most common causes of medical malpractice lawsuits is a missed diagnosis or a wrong diagnosis. When this occurs, a doctor may diagnose a patient who has a very serious ailment with something trivial or tell them they’re perfectly fine. This results in a worsening of their symptoms and condition because the underlying condition was never addressed.
Rarer, however, is when a doctor over-diagnoses a patient with a rare incurable disease that requires an intensive treatment regimen simply to bilk their health insurance for as much money as they can.
Such was the case with over 24 patients, some in Florida, who had the misfortune of being diagnosed by the same doctor. That doctor is now fending off several simultaneous medical malpractice lawsuits.
Patients described being terrified and distraught after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, which is a rare degenerative neurological disease for which there is no cure. Their doctor recommended that they immediately begin Tysabri, a drug that must be administered at an infusion center.
Patients from all over the U.S. have accused the doctor of knowingly misdiagnosing the disease in order to profit from the expensive medications, routine checkups, and cost of care. The patients reported their insurance premiums spiking and living with the impending threat that the disease would rob them of their autonomy.
Medical Negligence and Willful Misconduct
The oldest cases against this doctor came from patients in Colorado. But after the doctor dropped his insurance there, where he is no longer legally able to practice medicine, he moved to Florida. Here, he opened up a clinic using the same alleged scam.
Some of the Colorado lawsuits were dropped because, without insurance, wronged patients would have to file out-of-state lawsuits. They were unlikely to receive much, if anything, in damages.
But now, two of his Florida patients are suing him.
While the doctor adamantly denies scamming his patients, he has left a trail of lawsuits wherever he has gone and the allegations are very much the same. In 2003, he was sued by health insurance company, State Farm, for ordering hundreds of pointless tests, but the jury failed to find him liable. Insurance companies seldom make sympathetic plaintiffs.
What this particular doctor has done goes far beyond mere medical negligence and into the realm of willful misconduct and casual disregard for the rights and well-being of others. He may not just be on the hook for medical negligence, but punitive damages as well.
Punitive damages are rarely awarded in medical malpractice cases and are very difficult to prove. There are several circumstances where punitive damages are appropriate, however, including when the physician is motivated by financial gain and that the danger and high likelihood of injury from the excessive treatment was known to the doctor. If the allegations against this doctor prove to be true, then he could potentially be held accountable to the fullest extent allowed by law.
Have You been the Victim of Medical Negligence?
If so, Palmer | Lopez of Tampa, Florida can help you with your case. We’ve successfully litigated several cases in the state of Florida and will give your case our full attention. Give us a call, and we’ll begin discussing your case immediately.