A South Dakota spinal surgeon has been accused of performing unnecessary surgeries on patients, leading to complications as serious as death. A number of malpractice lawsuits have been filed against the doctor and the physicians responsible for granting the spine surgeon’s hospital privileges. A story by the Argus Leader details how the allegations claim that the defendants acted in bad faith by allowing the doctor to continue to perform unnecessary surgeries in their respective hospitals in order to boost profits.
The basis of the allegations in the federal lawsuits is that multiple defendant doctors at two South Dakota hospitals knew of the spine surgeon’s dangerous and unprofessional history but allowed him to continue performing very complicated surgical spinal procedures, placing his patients at a serious risk.
The doctor has faced dozens of state court lawsuits brought by former patients and their families. In 2013, a case against the doctor resulted in a verdict of $933,835, while other cases settled out of court. As if the medical negligence claims weren’t outrageous enough, the doctor was accused by former employees of fraudulent billing practices to boost his income.
The recent court proceedings have resulted in numerous documents being released that detail private meetings and memos from the hospitals’ staff. Documents like this are usually kept secret under peer review rules. The memos showed that one of the two hospitals had lost a number of admissions of late, and that its revenue was down. Thus, some speculate that allowing these surgeries to continue was motivated by a drive to increase revenue for the hospital.
Patients expect their health to be the primary concern in their doctors’ recommendations and decisions. When money is the motivation, patients may be exposed to serious risks from unnecessary medical procedures. If you or a loved one suffered an injury as a result of an unnecessary medical procedure or other medical mistake, contact an experienced medical malpractice lawyer at Lopez McHugh. Don’t delay, as there are time limits for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit. Our medical malpractice lawyers can assist you in determining your legal rights and will review your case confidentially.