As previously mentioned in our Eugene medical malpractice blog, misdiagnosis includes both a failure to diagnose a disease and wrongly diagnosing and treating patients for a condition when they are completely healthy. In one such case, a doctor was recently arrested after purposefully misdiagnosing patients with cancer. It is alleged the doctor misdiagnosed patients in an attempt to make money from unnecessary chemotherapy treatments.
The 48-year-old Midwest doctor was charged with filing false Medicare claims for unnecessary medical services. The false claims include unnecessary chemotherapy treatments, Positron Emission Tomograph scans and other cancer treatments. The doctor is the owner and operator of a hematology oncology center with several locations in the Midwest.
The doctor is facing allegations that he falsified documents and directed others to do so. Over the past two years, his hematology oncology center billed Medicare $35 million. Federal officials say that $25 million of this is directly attributable to the doctor. He is specifically charged with intentionally misdiagnosing patients with cancer to justify costly treatment and testing, and continuing chemotherapy treatment in patients whose cancer had gone into remission. He is also charged with purposefully misdiagnosing patients with things such as anemia to make money off of unnecessary hematology treatments. The charges wrap up with allegations the doctor administered drugs to patients at dangerous levels and prescribed them without medical necessity.
The acts of the doctor proved deadly for at least once patient. He allegedly required patients to undergo chemotherapy before allowing them to go to a hospital for serious medical conditions. One patient fell at the doctor's center and hit his head. The doctor made him undergo chemotherapy before letting him be taken to the emergency room. The patient's head injury later proved to be fatal. As more victims of the doctor's unnecessary practices are discovered, the matter sheds light on the fact that misdiagnosis can result not only in criminal charges but civil claims as well. Victims of negligent physicians, including those with misdiagnosed cancer, often have legal recourse in the form of a malpractice lawsuit against the responsible parties.
Source: CBS Detroit, "Michigan doc arrested, charged with faking cancer treatments," August 6, 2013