August 1, 2013 Recent Legal News





Peer Review and Employment





Patients v Neosho Memorial Hospital
To Be Filed

In a southeast Kansas hospital that obviously did not get the message, they screwed up the colonoscopy sterilization.  They have sent letters to 244 patients to get tested for hepatitis and HIV.  The testing will be done by the Kansas state lab and paid for by the hospital.  

Pt v Coney Island Hospital
To Be Filed

An 84 year old female died after a negligent blood matching at the hospital.  The state has ordered all blood testing for transfusion to be done elsewhere.

Shekhawat v Jones
Georgia Supreme Court

The Georgia Supreme Court has stated that physicians employed at a State Medical School are state actors and as such may not be sued as individuals.  The state may be sued.

Metzgar v Desperito
Jury Trial

In a story of dumb and dumber, Dr. Thomas Desperito of Delaware implanted a three piece penile prosthesis into patient Daniel Metzgar.  His scrotum swelled significantly after the surgery but he did not seek help for four months.  He then went to the hospital about the swelling and that his penis has been erect since the surgery.  The hospital did nothing.  The following year another urologist took out the prosthesis and replaced it.  The patient sued and lost.  Occasionally bad outcomes happen when there is no fault.        Top


Nebraska v Garcia

Dr. Anthony Garcia of Terre Haute, Indiana, has been arrested in the murder of four people with ties to Creighton Medical School which fired Garcia several years ago.  

New York v Plotis

Sergey Plotis, Dr. Zhanna Kanevsky, Rostislav Vilshteny, Emil Shumunov and Alla Kuratova were all indicted for drug trafficking and distribution.  This alleged ring recruited false patients for prescriptions written out of a Brooklyn medical office.

US v Cadet

Drs. Cynthia Cadet and Joseph Castronuavo of West Palm Beach, Florida were found innocent of the deaths of eight patient in a pill mill where they worked.  They were found guilty of money laundering.  The two will be sentenced later.        Top


Patients v Hospitals
To Be Filed

In an article that must be read to be believed, The Dallas Morning News reporter Miles Moffeit chronicled the most damning management of hospitals I have ever seen as well as the gross negligence not only of the hospital owner but the state of Texas as well.  The article shows the alleged fraud by several hospital owner Tariq Mahmood as well as what happens when hospitals are owned by one who does not care and are not inspected either by state nor federal inspectors with regularity or care.  The story chronicles a whistleblower who was never listened to, patients dying because of lack of oversight and neglect.  I recommend this article for all state and federal inspectors to see what should not be done as well as the patients at these hospitals who should be filing dozens of medical malpractice law suits.  The problem is there will be no money since all the hospitals are broke.  One by one the hospitals are being closed either by the state or the feds.  The last of the hospitals is now under investigation and should be closed soon.

Henry Ford Hospital had x-rays of about 15,000 patients stolen from a warehouse.  This will result in a HIPAA fine from the feds.  This is the 4th HIPAA violation in four years for Ford.


HHS v San Agustin
Dismissal from Medicaid

Dr. Winston C San Agustin, a neurosurgeon in Monterey Park, California, was removed from the Medicaid program for refusing to operate on a patient due to the patient having AIDS.  Dr. San Agustin never put up any defense and waived his right to a hearing.  He admitted all facts in the motion against him. He would not do an elective operation for spondylolisthesis and referred him to the county hospital.  Dr. San Agustin also would not meet with anyone to become compliant in the future with the law against discrimination.        Top

Peer Review and Employment

Alexander v Avera St. Lukes

The anti-physician hospital is at it again.  Dr. Alexander, a pathologist at the hospital claimed he was discriminated against and forced to resign.  The hospital won the case not on the merits but because it was decided Dr. Alexander was not an employee.  Again, if you as a physician and value your livelihood and independence, DO NOT GO TO WORK FOR THIS HOSPITAL OR SYSTEM.

Med Staff of Avera Marshall v Avera Marshall
Minn Ct App

IN ANOTHER CASE THAT SHOWS WHY NO PHYSICIAN SHOULD WORK FOR AVERA, THE MEDICAL STAFF OF THE HOSPITAL SUED THE HOSPITAL.  This does not speak well for the hospital or the system.  The medical staff lost not on the merits but on a legality that a medical staff is not a separate entity and therefore has no standing to sue.  AGAIN, THIS IS A BAD PLACE FOR PHYSICIANS.  STAY AWAY!!!

Hamdan v Indiana University
SC Ind

The court refused a hospital's motion to dismiss.  They were sued for defamation and a violation of contract.  They also lost a plea for HCQIA immunity.  Dr. Talal Hamdan, an American of Palestinian descent and an interventional cardiologist, was given privileges for his practice.  When he began to work he apparently was harassed for his ethnicity.  He and others complained to the hospital but no action was taken.  False reports regarding the physician were made to the MSO and no investigation was done.  The MEC an adverse action based on the false reports.  This was then reported to the IRB also without any investigation and a second adverse report was generated.  A hearing was requested but the hospital threatened Dr. Hamdan that he needed to resign while under investigation and be reported to the NPDB or the hospital would pursue civil and criminal charges.  The hearing was held and Dr. Hamdan won on all counts with the Board agreeing.  The physician then filed suit.  The court stated that it is a matter of fact to be determined whether or not the bylaws are a contract.  Also the count stated that intentional misstatements can not be a basis for HCQIA immunity therefore damages may be pled.  It boggles the mind how the hospital and the legal department can be so stupid as to not investigate the harassment and then the quality complaints to see whether or not they were true.

Connors v Dartmouth Medical Center
D Vermont

A psychiatric resident had advised the hospital upon her hire as a resident physician that she had ADHD.  The hospital accommodated her but in one of her off site rotations she was not and this, she states, caused her symptoms to become worse.  She was placed on leave and agreed to a remediation plan which she completed.  She was then sent to the off site area again and again the same lack of accommodation happened.  She was not offerred a position for the following year.  She did complete her residency in a different location and then sued for discrimination.  The court sided with the resident in the summary judgment trial.  The allegation must be decided by a jury.

Brough-Stevenson v Community Emerg. Med Assoc
Ca Ct App

The ED physician sued her group and the hospital she worked at for damages after she was terminated from the hospital.  The hospital and medical group attempted to defend by saying her complaints were over ruled by the state anti SLAPP law.  The court disagreed because the hospital had said she was a capable physician and the issues were personality and profitability, neither of which invokes public safety.        Top



PAMA, a business of psychiatry in New York City, has agreed to pay a fine of $1 million  for false billing.  They supposedly did psychology services on those people who could not benefit due to significant dementia or Alzheimer's.

US v Reaves

Dr. Lori Reaves of Waterford Works, New Jersey, was sentenced to two years in prison for pleading guilty to doing false billing for home services.  She apparently lied about the amount of face to face time she had with patients.

US v Yassin

Dr. Mahmood Yassin of Robinson, Illinois, was sentenced to 30 days in prison and probation.  He is also to pay double restitution $87,000 to Medicare and a fine of $10,000 plus a special assessment of $100.  He also need to pay Blue Cross $19,000.  He claimed in person office visits when they were either non existent or by phone.

US v Gillick

Dr. Daniel Gillick of Youngstown, New York, pled guilty of fraud and obtaining controlled substances fraudulently.  The doctor had his girlfriend pose as a patient at the hospital ED and he would write a prescription for Dilaudid for her.

US v Malik

Dr. Ishtiaq Malik of Washington, DC, was found guilty of fraud for submitting false cardiac nuclear medicine claims.  If the stress and rest tests are done on the same or separate days they must be billed as one test.  He billed as two separate tests.  He also billed for services not performed as well as items that are included in the nuclear stress test.  He has been ordered to pay $17 million which included treble damages.

FDA v Wyeth

Wyeth agreed to pay $491 million to settle criminal and civil charges regarding their marketing Rapamune for non approved reasons.  The drug was approved for the stoppage of transplant rejection of kidney patients but was marketed for other transplants as well.  Wyeth was purchased by Pfizer.  This was a whistleblower case but the amounts to be awarded are still up in the air.

US v Beth Israel Deaconess

The Boston hospital has agreed to pay just over $5 million for billing for inpatient services when they should have billed for outpatient (observation) or lower levels of care.         Top 


Cook v US  FDA
DC Ct App.

The court ruled that the FDA could not import sodium thiopental into the country to be used in executions since the FDA has not deemed it approved.  However those states who already have the drug can use it.

Conestoga Wood Specialties Company v US
3rd Circuit

This court went against the 10th Circuit in a case of a company owned by Mennonites who stated they should not have to comply with Obamacare on contraception.  This sets up the issue for the Supreme Court to hear the issue next term.        Top


Hinchy v Walgreens
Indiana Trial Ct.

Walgreens was ordered to pay $1.44 million for their pharmacist seeing the Rx history of the plaintiff and telling her husband about it.  The reason for the breach is that Hinchy is the pharmacists husband's ex girl friend by whom he has had a baby.

US v Major

Shalamar Major was sentenced to 18 months in prison for stealing PHI and using it to fraudulently receive IRS refunds.  He was a scheduler at Boca Raton Hospital (Florida).  The refunds were then put on previous stolen reloadable debit cards.

Patients v Oregon Health & Science Hospital
To be Filed

The hospital reported a data breach of 3000 patient's medical records.  The records were placed by plastic surgery residents to keep track of the patients admitted to their service.  The information was kept in an unprotected Gmail or Drive.  This is the 4th violation by the hospital.        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.