When Fraud Amounts to Medical Malpractice

While most doctors and health care providers have their patients’ best interests in mind, health care fraud is all too prevalent in the medical industry and patients suffer as a result. According to the Chicago Tribune, approximately $60 billion of the $800 billion paid to Medicare and Medicaid for medical services each year is attributed to Medicare/Medicaid fraud. Oftentimes health care fraud – including unnecessary surgeriesmisdiagnoses, and unsupervised treatment – puts patients’ health and lives at risk, in which case unscrupulous doctors should be liable for medical malpractice, in addition to medical fraud.

As we reported in April, two senior executives and four physicians affiliated with Chicago’s Sacred Heart Hospital were arrested for allegedly conspiring to pay and receive illegal kickbacks, as well as allegedly performing medically unnecessary sedation, intubation and tracheotomy procedures.

Unfortunately, instances of medical fraud and unnecessary surgeries are not limited to Sacred Heart Hospital. Dr. Gary Null, author of “Death by Medicine,” has estimated that 7.5 million unnecessary surgical procedures are performed each year, most frequently involving coronary bypass, hysterectomy, prostate surgery, and cesarean section. In “Under the Influence of Modern Medicine,” Terry Rondberg similarly concluded that more than half of all surgeries performed are medically unnecessary.

Health care fraud isn’t limited to unnecessary treatment and procedures, however. In many cases, health care fraud involves medical treatment that is not performed or supervised by a doctor as required by law. For instance, earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that a group of radiation oncology providers in Florida had agreed to pay $3.5 million to resolve allegations that they billed Medicare and Medicaid for radiation oncology services that were not supervised by a physician, as required by Medicare and Medicaid laws. Instead, the radiation oncology services were frequently performed while the defendant doctors were on vacation or were working at another radiation oncology clinic.

If you have received an unnecessary medical procedure, or received medical treatment that was not supervised by a doctor, you might have a medical malpractice claim against the physician and other defendants. Additionally, if your consent to surgery was not properly given or was obtained under false pretenses, you might have a claim for medical malpractice and/or battery, depending on the circumstances. You may be able to recover financial compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, post-operative expenses, emotional distress, pain and suffering, and possible punitive damages.

At Cogan & Power, P.C., our Chicago medical malpractice lawyers are dedicated to protecting the victims of medical malpractice, whether the result of medical negligence or fraud. We are dedicated to protecting injured victims and their families, and have obtained record setting and multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements on behalf of our injured clients.

If you think that you or someone you love was the victim of medical malpractice or medical fraud, contact our office at (312) 477-2500 to speak with one of our skilled Chicago medical malpractice lawyers.