A former spine surgeon in South Dakota, who returned to his native Iran, left behind many victims of medical malpractice, both living and dead — he may be the poster boy of the need for justice for South Dakota medical malpractice victims. While nearly all prior medical malpractice claims filed against South Dakota physicians were unsuccessful, due in part to South Dakotans’ deference to doctors, the former spine surgeon’s alleged egregious misconduct and acts of medical negligence that seriously harmed many of his former patients may finally level the playing field.
More than thirty medical malpractice lawsuits have been filed against the South Dakota surgeon, with one ending in a verdict for the plaintiff last year that involved allegations of unnecessary surgeries that resulted in the patient’s death. Another surgical medical malpractice case was being tried last week. The surgeon may be judgment-proof (a judgment rendered against him may not be paid because of the lack of medical malpractice insurance coverage and the surgeon has no assets in South Dakota from which the judgment may be paid) but the former hospital in which he had an ownership interest where many of the unnecessary surgical procedures were performed may be held responsible for the spine surgeon’s wrongful actions (the hospital is alleged to have known about the unnecessary surgeries and his bad conduct but failed to take appropriate actions to address the wrongdoing).
The claims against the former spine surgeon include not only unnecessary surgeries that permanently harmed patients and caused the deaths of some of them, but also claims that he was abusive and intimidating towards staff and had a sexual relationship with a female sales representative who sold him medical devices he used during spinal surgeries, including engaging in sex with her in his office while patients were waiting to see him.
The spine surgeon is also accused of scheduling more surgeries and procedures at times he desired to make expensive purchases, such as when he wanted to purchase a car that cost more than $200,000 (it is alleged that he instructed his staff to contact his patients who had had surgery within the past six months to schedule further surgeries on them so that he could buy the outrageously expensive car).
A background check of the spine surgeon would have revealed that he was convicted of felony burglary in the 1980s while he was a college student and that he had lied about the conviction on his medical license application (he changed his name after his conviction). The background check would also have revealed that he had surrendered his privileges at a hospital while he was being investigated, and was subsequently denied reinstatement of hospital privileges on several occasions.
Perhaps South Dakotans will re-evaluate their previous unjustified siding with South Dakota doctors who have negligently injured their patients, which may lead to meritorious medical malpractice claimants receiving fair compensation for their losses and harms. Just because a doctor wears a white coat does not make him/her an angel.
If you or a family member may be the innocent victim of medical malpractice in South Dakota or in another U.S. state, you should promptly find a South Dakota medical malpractice attorney (or a medical malpractice attorney in your state) who may investigate your medical malpractice claim for you and represent you in a medical malpractice lawsuit, if appropriate.
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