The state of Illinois has suspended the license of a prison doctor who allegedly committed malpractice on inmates for years. In an agreement reached with the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation in February, the doctor has agreed to a 60-day suspension of his license and then to put his license on inactive status following the suspension.
The doctor also agreed to a $30,000 fine related to a 2007 case which resulted in an inmate’s wrongful death. The inmate died of an untreated ulcer, which medical experts say should not be fatal if treated properly. The inmate’s family sued the doctor, who ultimately settled in 2011 for $737,500. In 2010, the doctor settled a lawsuit with another inmate whose leg was amputated after the doctor allegedly allowed a broken ankle to turn into a compound fracture, which then led to gangrene.
The doctor has a history of other similar errors and faces pending lawsuits for a number of them. For example, in 2004 an inmate died three days after being transferred to the hospital with pneumonia. The coroner said the death was preventable and that the patient had bedsores when he died. In an incident that resulted in a pending federal lawsuit, an inmate in the Grundy County Jail died from seizures after the doctor apparently withheld the inmate’s prescribed anti-seizure medication. A patient with extensive burn injuries and mental illness died after the doctor switched out methadone for less expensive opiate painkillers, which may have had dangerous interactions with the patients psychotropic drugs.
All patients – including inmates – should expect their doctor to act ethically and competently. Unfortunately, malpractice happens and doctors are sometimes allowed to go years without being stopped. Victims of malpractice and medical error may be entitled to financial compensation for their injuries and pain and suffering. An experienced malpractice attorney could evaluate their case and help determine whether a suit is warranted and likely to succeed.
Source: Illinois Times, “State suspends doctor, finally“, BRUCE RUSHTON, May 09, 2013