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Ohio doctor facing over 160 lawsuits flees country

A spinal surgeon from Mason, Ohio, currently on trial on federal criminal charges and facing over 160 civil lawsuits for damages from from patients apparently fled the country. He had previously been denied permission to go visit Pakistan, where he claimed his father was sick. The accusations against him go way beyond simple physician negligence. He is accused of having performed unnecessary surgeries, and medical boards in both Ohio and another state suspended his medical licenses recently.

Additionally, the bulk of his economic assets were frozen in light of the charges and serious accusations against him. Federal prosecutors lodged an indictment against him containing no less than 36 separate counts of fraud. He is said to have garnered millions of dollars from insurers, both public and private for ill advised or unneeded surgeries, with patients saying that the procedures caused their conditions to actually grow worse. So voluminous are the civil lawsuits against this doctor that 14 different judges are currently lined up to proceed on cases against him.

One of the classic principles of medicine for physicians and surgeons is that first of all they should "do not harm." For a doctor to abuse the trust that patients place on them to cut them under the knife, slice their bodies open, and expose them to the deadly risks of general anesthesia needlessly would be unpardonable if proven true.

Lawsuits against doctors in cases like this can seek to recover medical expenses, including necessary corrective procedures, damages for pain and suffering, and lost wages, as well as compensation for any resulting disability. In some instances, particularly egregious misconduct such as knowingly and intentionally causing harm, such as performing surgery patients don't even need could be arguably termed assault and justify punitive damages designed to punish the defendant doctor, not merely compensate for the losses caused. By pursuing such lawsuits, injured patients and their families can not only seek justice for themselves but also help deter other negligent or malicious doctors who might harm other helpless patients.

WCPO, "Dr. Atiq Durrani: Six federal agencies searching for fugitive Mason spine surgeon" Greg Noble, Dec. 18, 2013

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