In an outstanding recent result for the firm, Nick Jurkowitz successfully defended a physician client against an accusation that he had recommended unnecessary surgical procedures to an elderly patient, who had come to him complaining of severe leg pain.
According to the complaint, the firm’s physician client incorrectly diagnosed the patient with venous disease after reviewing results from an ultrasound, and proceeded to recommend a total of six unnecessary abalation surgeries to resolve the patient’s leg issues. The patient then sought a second opinion from another physician, who disagreed with the physician client’s diagnosis and instead suspected the patient’s pain was due to neurological issues. Additionally, the second physician found it “unjustified” that anyone would recommend extensive abalation treatments to a 92-year-old patient with a history of cardiac issues.
Having examined the plaintiff, the second physician wrote a letter of complaint regarding the firm’s physician client to the Medical Board of California, which initiated an investigation. According to the physician client, he made the diagnosis of venous disease after a vascular ultrasound revealed varicose veins in the patient. He then gave the patient a prescription for compression stockings and advised her to return in one month to see if her pain had diminished. However, the patient never returned. The physician client further explained that he had not recommended abalation treatments to the patient, but had explained that certain procedures could be done in the future, including the possibility of abalation, if more conservative measures failed to aid the patient’s discomfort.
After reviewing the physician client’s electronic medical records and hearing expert testimony that supported the his diagnosis, the Medical Board found that the patient had failed to meet her burden of establishing that the physician client engaged in acts of incompetent, gross negligence or unprofessional conduct. It was then ruled that the accusation was dismissed.