A settlement has been reached in a substantial medical malpractice case involving 256 plaintiffs, according to news sources. The case, which spans more than five years, has had numerous ups and downs, but now seems to be at a point where plaintiffs can expect some relief. Read on to learn more about the case and what the settlement could mean for those affected.
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Orthopedist Subject of more than 200 Medical Malpractice Lawsuits
Since 2013, orthopedist Spyros Panos has been in battle with the legal system. In November 2013, he pleaded guilty to health care fraud – charges which resulted in his spending more than four years in prison. At the time of his release, Panos was the subject of more than 200 medical malpractice lawsuits. That number climbed to a final total of 261.
The claims made in the medical malpractice lawsuits included allegations that Panos had performed numerous surgeries in one day, up to 20 in a single shift – half as many as the average surgeon performs in a full month. Plaintiffs alleged that he botched surgeries, performed unnecessary surgeries on healthy patients, faked surgeries, and prolonged patient ailments. Records from the facilities where Panos worked also show that he was recorded as being in two surgeries at the same time, with two separate patients.
Attorneys for the plaintiffs allege that Panos would leave one patient on the table to go tend to another who was also in surgery. Records show that in a single 12 hour shift, Panos had performed 20 surgeries. The average orthopedist in the United States performs 32 procedures per month. These records raised serious questions of quality and the standards of care, which appeared to have been violated in a number of cases.
Settlement Reached in Medical Malpractice Case with 256 Plaintiffs
In February 2018, a settlement was reached between plaintiffs and two insurance companies who will pay out claims on behalf of Panos and Mid Hudson Medical Group, his former employer. The initial settlement amount was estimated to reach up to $40 million, but attorneys for the plaintiffs noted that legal fees will likely reduce that amount.
Still, for plaintiffs, the settlement could put some resolution to a long-running, traumatic, and damaging series of events. The massive string of lawsuits alone have spanned more than two years. Unfortunately, the case is not yet over. Now begins a complicated process of determining how much each plaintiff will be awarded as part of the settlement.
According to attorneys, part of the settlement included an agreed upon “point system” which will help determine how much of the settlement amount should go to each plaintiff. For example, each point is worth $2,500, so someone with five points could be eligible for $12,500. That is only one factor in determining how the settlement amount will be split. Attorneys noted that there are still many complex issues to be resolve for each plaintiff before monetary amounts can be established. They are hopeful that plaintiffs will receive payments starting within six months time.
For Panos, the settlement means that he will not have to admit to any wrongdoing. It is unclear whether he will be allowed to continue practicing medicine, or whether he has been disciplined by officials outside his prison sentence.
What is Orthopedic Surgeon Malpractice?
Orthopedic surgeons, like any medical professional, are required to provide a reasonable amount of care to their patients. This duty, or the standard of care, is critical to ensuring that a patient’s legal rights and wellbeing are upheld. When a healthcare provider fails to uphold this standard, the patient is placed at risk for complications and errors that can be devastating.
Some of the situations that may indicate surgical errors, medical malpractice, or negligence on the part of an orthopedic surgeon include:
- Failure to diagnose a fracture, nerve problem, or post-surgical complication
- Delay in diagnosis or treatment of injuries
- Misinterpretation of radiological tests, such as MRI, CT scans, or X-rays
- Improper setting of fractured or broken bones
- Improper casting or placement of hardware
- Operating on the wrong body part
- Performing an operation on the wrong patient
- Leaving surgical objects inside the patient
Any surgical procedure is not without risk. However, you trust that your surgeon will act on your behalf to the best of his or her ability and the standards of care. Failure to do so can result in devastating surgical complications, such as blood clots, damage to the spine, nerve damage, joint problems, infections, amputations, or even death.
Don’t Wait to Get Help with Your Orthopedic Malpractice Case
As this post demonstrates, medical malpractice claims and resulting lawsuits are lengthy and often complicated. Don’t wait to get help with your case. If you believe that you have been harmed due to the negligence of a healthcare provider, contact Brown & Brothers today for a free consultation. Let our skilled medical malpractice attorneys help you understand and fight for your legal rights.
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