A doctor who has specialized in treating eye ailments in a largely older patient base has been on trial after facing serious allegations. The 62-year-old doctor is accused of bilking Medicare of an estimated $105 million for alleged misdiagnosis of a relatively rare eye disease. While this trial is not taking place in Pennsylvania, it may highlight the vulnerability of some patients who place their blind trust in their medical providers.
The trial has been going on for some time and features testimony of a prosecution witness who has disputed many of the accused doctor's diagnoses of a degenerative eye disease in many of the physician's patients. One of the patients was told that he suffered several ailments in both of his eyes. However, the man does not have an eye on the right side. It had been removed and was replaced by a non-functional prosthetic eye. Further testimony was offered that negated the purported illness in the patient's remaining eye.
Another woman was reportedly diagnosed with a type of macular degenerative disease that is more commonly found in other races and at older ages than this particular patient. More testimony purportedly supported the prosecutor's case that the accused doctor submitted more cases of a rarer form of the eye disease that can be treated with costly injections rather than the more common form that is not treatable in the later stages. One patient was supposedly afflicted with the more common form of the illness but was treated with injections which is contra-indicated.
The doctor in the center of the case reportedly submitted more billings through Medicare than any other provider in the country for 2012. The legal defense for the eye doctor claimed that the disputed diagnoses were the result of errors and not deliberate attempts to commit fraud. The case is still ongoing. Pennsylvania patients who have been the victim of a misdiagnosis are entitled to pursue a civil case against any medical provider who has caused them unnecessary additional pain and suffering in order to possibly alleviate any monetary harm that may have resulted.
Source: palmbeachpost.com, "Expert in Melgen Medicare fraud trial: doc misdiagnosed patients", Daphne Duret, March 15, 2017