Ohio medical patients, and those throughout the nation, have the right to reasonably assume that any doctor, nurse, practitioner or other professional staff member who is attending to his or her care will do so according to the highest levels of professionalism and safety standards. Sometimes, a breach of that duty of care also involves accusations of criminal conduct. Regardless, a medical patient has a separate right to file a medical malpractice claim in a civil court when substandard care causes him or her to suffer injury or illness. In a recent case, a cardiologist was found guilty in criminal court of health care fraud.
A federal jury recently found the Ohio doctor guilty of performing unnecessary heart procedures on patients. The 56-year-old cardiologist reportedly conducted dozens of serious medical procedures that were not necessary in order to overbill Medicare and other insurance agencies. The fraud scheme is said to have resulted in escalated medical fees of approximately $7.2 million.
Among the unnecessary procedures the doctor is said to have performed were coronary artery bypass surgeries, various medical tests and insertion of stents and catheters that patients did not need. In addition to being found guilty of 13 counts of health care fraud by making false statements, the cardiologist was also found guilty of laundering $250,000 that he moved from his own account to his wife’s while he was under investigation. He now awaits sentencing in Dec. 2015 and is allowed to remain free on bond until that time.
Reportedly, there are a number of medical malpractice claims pending in civil court related to the charges of which he now stands convicted. In Ohio and all other states, anyone who believes that a doctor’s negligence has caused them injury or harm is able to consult with a personal injury lawyer if he or she wishes to consider filing a medical malpractice claim in civil court. An experienced attorney can help an injured patient identify all possible sources of liability. In situations where a criminal conviction has been rendered against a health care professional with regard to the patient’s care, proof of the conviction may be offered as evidence of financial liability in a related medical malpractice case.
Source: cleveland.com, “Westlake cardiologist guilty of performing unnecessary procedures for insurance payouts“, Eric Heisig, Sept. 25, 2015