Verdicts could tap $90M from state medical malpractice insurance fund

side note: Even while in police custody, the infamous fugitive Dr. Mark Weinberger is managing to bring harm to the citizens of Indiana. Experts fear that the 357 medical malpractice lawsuits that face Weinberger could end up costing the Indiana state medical malpractice fund over 90 million dollars. The depletion of the Indiana state fund would have repercussions felt through out the entire Indiana medical community. When I’ve had the opportunity to speak to doctors one on one at conferences, they have all told me that they wished doctors would be more willing to call out their own especially when the guy has 357 claims against him. For a free quote on medical malpractice insurance in the state of Indiana visit mymedicalmalpracticeinsurance.com.

BY MARK TAYLOR
POST-TRIBUNE CORRESPONDENT

Friday’s $300,000 jury verdict in the first medical malpractice lawsuit to go to trial against ear, nose and throat specialist Dr. Mark Weinberger was not huge by Indiana standards.

The maximum allowable payout under Indiana’s malpractice statute is $1.25 million, so the award to plaintiff William Boyer was far below that limit.

However, Boyer, a 58-year-old Gary heavy equipment operator, had no permanent injuries from the unnecessary surgery Weinberger performed on him, so some attending the weeklong trial in Lake Superior Court in Hammond expected a smaller verdict.

What is consequential is that Weinberger faces another 357 medical malpractice lawsuits. Most of those cases involve allegations of unnecessary surgery, needed surgery that was not performed or surgery that was poorly performed. At least 20 of those cases have already received opinions of medical malpractice from three-doctor medical review panels, a key step in the state’s medical malpractice process.

That could mean that if all of the claims against Weinberger go to trial and result in similar verdicts — an unlikely scenario because most cases will either be settled or dismissed before going to trial — the fund could face liability of nearly $90 million.

In 2009, the fund paid a total of 150 malpractice claims for $108,438,141, down slightly from 2008, when it paid 154 claims for $109,809,087.

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