Medical malpractice most commonly involves negligence, or when a doctor or hospital fails to meet his or her duty of care to the patient. In some cases, however, medical malpractice can involve intentional misconduct through health care fraud or intentional deception.
Unfortunately, health care fraud is all too pervasive in the health care industry. As we discussed here, approximately $60 billion of the $800 billion paid to Medicare and Medicaid for medical services each year is attributed to Medicare/Medicaid fraud, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Not only is health care fraud – including kickbacks, unnecessary surgeries, misdiagnoses, and unsupervised treatment – illegal, but it can also put patients’ health and lives at risk. For instance, in November 2012, federal authorities accused a Chicago psychiatrist of taking kickbacks from drug companies and prescribing antipsychotic medication to thousands of mentally ill patients in area nursing homes. More recently, several doctors and executives at Sacred Heart Hospital in Chicago were accused of over-medicating patients as part of an elaborate kickback scheme. As a result of the overmedication, several patients became too drowsy to breathe on their own which, consequently, resulted in a tracheotomy that would not have been necessary otherwise.
Healthcare fraud often involves kickbacks for patient referrals, but it can also involve unnecessary medical procedures, as well. According to Dr. Gary Null, author of “Death by Medicine,” an estimated 7.5 million unnecessary surgical procedures are performed each year, most frequently involving coronary bypass, hysterectomy, prostate surgery, and cesarean section. Moreover, in “Under the Influence of Modern Medicine,” Terry Rondberg concluded that more than half of all surgeries performed are medically unnecessary.
When a patient is injured as a result of over-medication induced by a kickback scheme or other form of health care fraud, the offending doctor could also be liable in a medical malpractice lawsuit, in addition to facing federal fraud charges. If liability is established, the injured patient may be able to recover compensation for his or her injuries, such as medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and emotional distress.
Contact a Medical Malpractice Lawyer
If you suspect that your health care was influenced by kickbacks or health care fraud, you should contact a medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible. Depending on the circumstances and whether you were injured as a result, you may be able to recover financial compensation in a medical malpractice lawsuit. Moreover, you can help prevent others from being injured by an dishonest doctor or health care provider.
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, and we 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.