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UnitedHealth ordered to pay $24M for failure to oversee doctor

Readers of our Eugene medical malpractice blog may be interested to learn that America's largest insurance company has been ordered to pay $24 million in damages by a Nevada jury. The decision was issued in regards to the failure of UnitedHealth to properly oversee a doctor whose practices resulted in his patients being infected with hepatitis C.

The lawsuit arose following an outbreak of hepatitis C in 2008 at the doctor's clinic. The doctor was a gastroenterologist contracted by UnitedHealth to perform colonoscopies. It is alleged that the doctor rushed through the procedures with such haste that he would see as many as 20 patients in three hours. The lawsuit claimed UnitedHealth both failed to oversee the doctor and knew of his attitude towards substandard healthcare. The suit also alleges UnitedHealth received complaints about the doctor and still failed to appropriately monitor his practice. The status of other malpractice or hospital negligence claims related to the case is not currently known.

While the doctor's conduct in this case is undoubtedly concerning, it shows that numerous parties can be held responsible for patient injuries caused by malpractice. Individual doctors, staff members, medical facilities and even insurance companies can be legally responsible for medical malpractice.

A malpractice claim arises when a patient suffers injury at the hands of negligent medical providers. A claim allows the victims of medical malpractice the means to recover compensation for the injuries sustained. It can also hold parties responsible for the most serious of malpractice cases in which patient death occurs. The best way to protect a victim's right to recovery is to enlist the help of an experienced Oregon attorney early in the process.

Source: www.fiercehealthpayer.com, "UnitedHealth to pay $24M for negligent oversight of doctor," April 5, 2013

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