It can be extremely stressful to require a surgical procedure. Between the initial consultation, various tests to determine the source of the problem, long waits for results, preoperative visits, anesthesia, surgery, and follow up visits, the process can take several months to complete. Certainly, no one in San Diego or elsewhere desires a surgery that is medically unnecessary or performed solely to collect money for unscrupulous doctors.
It comes as no surprise that a judge approved a settlement of $55 million to be divided between 282 former patients of a doctor who routinely carried out surgical procedures that were not necessary. The surgeon, who was known as the “nose doctor” took in more than $30 million dollars doing the needless surgeries before he fled the country in 2004 with his earnings. He was eventually located in Italy five years later, living in a tent despite the fact that it was winter. After he was brought back to the United States, he pled guilty to health care fraud.
Each of the affected individuals will receive approximately a quarter of a million dollars from the settlement. While the doctor’s behavior in this case was extreme, medical malpractice does occur in offices and hospitals when a negligent, reckless or unscrupulous doctor does not meet a reasonable standard of care. This can take the form of a surgical or anesthesia error or any improper conduct that leads to a worsened medical condition. In such a case, it may be helpful for a patient or family members to consult with legal counsel to determine whether a claim for compensation is appropriate.
Source: U-T San Diego, “Nose doctor’s patients settle lawsuits for $55M,” Charles Wilson, June 25, 2012