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Virginia and West Virginia:Nice States, But Don’t Get Sick There

Posted by Andrew J. Barovick | Mar 09, 2009 | 0 Comments

In early February, I posted about West Virginia physician, John A. King , who had managed to generate 124 medical malpractice lawsuits during the short time he was on staff at Putnam General Hospital.

It turns out that Dr. King also generated considerable, and illegal fees for himself, courtesy of the medical device makers whose products Dr. King installed into patients during surgeries.  On this blog, we call those fees “kickbacks.”  The Charleston Gazette reports that several of the 124 lawsuits named as codefendants Wright Medical Technology, Inc. and EBI, Inc., both of which supplied devices used by King during the suspect surgeries.  Wright's bone-fusion compound had not even worked in animals, nor had EBI's vertebral spacers.  The patients were never informed they were being treated with experimental devices.

Of course, it gets worse.  Dr. King filed for bankruptcy once he saw the legal writing on the wall.  Then, he defrauded the Bankruptcy Court by claiming, in December, 2007, that he had no checking or savings accounts, no firearms, clothing furs, jewelry or monthly income.  All he had to his name, he said, was the value of of 1993 Volvo.  Now, a bankruptcy judge who caught on to Dr. King's scheme of hiding his actual assets from the court has denied Dr. King the benefits of his bankruptcy filing. It turns out that Dr. King had been making regular deposits into his mother's bank account, and had secreted hundreds of thousands of his own dollars into “The Bonemaker Trust” (yes, that is its true name).

Meantime, the State of Virginia has a dark secret that is secret no longer.  It fails to adequately discipline its physicians. The poster boy for Virginia's broken system is Dr. Stephen Plotnick, a rheumatologist who specialized in pain management.  10 of his patients have died since 2004, and it took 5 years before he was forced to surrender his license for 2 years.

If you're headed south to Florida in the near future, do yourself a favor and fly there.  If you must drive, don't stop in Virginia or West Virginia, if you know what's good for you.

About the Author

Andrew J. Barovick

Mr. Barovick is a graduate of Columbia College and Cardozo School of Law. He began his legal career at the Queens District Attorney’s Office, where he tried over 20 felonies to verdict, and argued an equal number of appeals before the Appellate Division, Second Department, the New York Court of Appeals and the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

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REPRESENTATIVE VERDICTS & SETTLEMENTS:

$7.9 million dollars for infant client who suffered severe brain injuries due to post- delivery medical malpractice.

$500,000 wrongful death/medical malpractice settlement on behalf of patient brought to hospital emergency room with serious injuries who suffered complications while unmonitored and died.

$425,000 wrongful death/medical malpractice settlement during trial on behalf of senior hospital patient whose surgeon failed to timely address her worsening symptoms, resulting in her death.

$250,000 to young man whose physician failed to diagnose an impending torsion testicle, causing the loss of the affected testicle.

$200,000 to young mother whose OB/GYN failed to timely diagnose and treat her ectopic pregnancy, resulting in excruciating, long-term pain and the need for surgery to address the ectopic pregnancy once it was diagnosed.

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