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An orthopedic doctor in Florida has been found to be responsible for a 71-year old man’s life altering, permanent injuries. The man had the misfortune to suffer from back problems, but thanks to his back surgeon, he has been left in a wheelchair for life. Unlike most medical malpractice victims, his case was arbitrated, not pursued in court. Usually, that type of proceeding benefits the doctor, but in this case, surprise, surprise, the arbitrators provided a multi-million award, finding that his back surgery was performed at a level below the prevailing professional standard.

This case began in 2003, seven long years ago; the man was slated to undergo three surgeries. The first one gave him some right side relief; but the same operation on the left side went so badly that he needed five additional operations. These operations left him flat broke, costing $180,000, and resulting in wheelchair confinement.

As the worm turns, the surgeon had a very long record of medical malpractice and negligence claims; this included a 63-count complaint against him for damages, medical malpractice, and fraud filed by the Florida Department of Health. He had also been indicted for performing unnecessary spinal surgery on a patient with chronic back pain in 2007. The surgeon’s dismal track record extends back to 1989. Why does he still have his license?

And our unfortunate victim? He is just pleased to have the matter resolved and behind him; he is planning to share his award with the church and other charities. He did not have to deplete his bank acount before his victory, though. Instead, he could have pursued lawsuit funding from an experienced provider of that service. Lawsuit funding could have been used to tide him over until collection of his award; it would have allowed him to pay for his wheelchair, pay off some of his medical and surgical bills, plus cover other expenses he had to face while waiting for an equitable judgment. In cases like this, where there is often a long wait for justice; lawsuit funding is often the perfect answer.

One Comment

  1. Gravatar for Eugene Rosov

    Our company, which has pioneered a specific format for arbitration, agrees totally with the attorney that arbitration should be equivalent in cost and framework for the patient. Therefore, we pay 100% of the costs, and never burden a patient who, under an arbitration agreement, sues a physician. Our experience, and the experience of 40 years of Kaiser-Permanente's arbitration programs in California, is that awards are typically identical to jury trials in similar cases, save that the time-frame is highly compressed (12 months compared to 60 months). The super-high jury awards are also not typically provided in arbitration - although, since arbitrators are almost always judges and/or lawyer - cases are accomplished more quickly and with less fanfare.

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