The story sounds like a script written for a TV drama: A fugitive doctor performs needless surgeries on innocent victims and narrowly evades authorities by escaping to the Italian Alps.
Sadly, for hundreds of sick people in Indiana, this story is all too real.
According to report in the Chicago Tribune, this week marked the start of a medical malpractice trial against Mark Weinberger, M.D., who faces malpractice charges from more than 300 unsatisfied former patients.
The malpractice trial was on hold for several years as authorities searched for Weinberger, who left the country in 2004 on the heels of an investigation into his medical practices.
He was considered a fugitive from justice until November 2009, when authorities found him living in a tent in the mountains of northern Italy.
While Weinberger was in hiding, he was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges that he over-billed insurance companies for surgeries he either didn’t perform or performed unnecessarily.
Further, Weinberger faces a 22-count criminal indictment, and, perhaps unsurprisingly, the Indiana Medical Licensing Board has revoked his medical license. To the chagrin of the parties in the civil trial, Weinberger will likely not appear in court for the current personal injury lawsuit as a result of the impending criminal case.
The plaintiff in this trial, William Boyer, alleges that Weinberger performed an unnecessary surgery on his nose, causing chronic pain and mental anguish. Further, Boyer claims that his experience has also made him fearful of other doctors.
According to the plaintiff’s attorney, Barry Rooth, Boyer visited Weinberger in hopes of curing his breathing troubles. However, the surgery did not work, and Boyer alleges that Weinberger drilled two holes in Boyer’s maxillary sinuses that shouldn’t be there.
Specifically, Boyer claims that Weinberger misread X-rays and a CT scan, thereby leading to a faulty recommendation of surgery. According to Boyer’s attorney, the plaintiff actually “had no disease in his sinuses,” rendering the subsequent surgery entirely unnecessary.
Reports indicate that the defense attorney has already admitted that Weinberger acted negligently in his care of Boyer, and a three-doctor panel also found that Weinberger committed medical malpractice.
So, the primary issue the court must resolve in this trial is the total amount of money Boyer can recover as a result of his injuries.
During jury selection, the plaintiff’s attorney hinted that Boyer would be seeking damages somewhere in the neighborhood of $1-5 million.
Of course, not every medical malpractice trial is fraught with tales of international fugitives. However, people are often injured as a result of poor medical treatment.
If you have suffered injuries from what you believe to be negative treatment, consider contacting a personal injury lawyer to learn your legal options.