David Antoon, a retired Air Force colonel, has tried multiple times to recover from the Cleveland Clinic for complications he experienced after surgery for prostate cancer. A federal appeals court has rejected his lawsuit. The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found Mr. Antoon had no legal standing to bring allegations of fraud against the Cleveland Clinic and his surgeon, Dr. Jihad Kaouk.
In December 2007, Mr. Antoon met with Dr. Kaouk to discuss surgery. At that time, Dr. Kaouk assured Mr. Antoon he would be the surgeon performing the surgery. In January 2008, Mr. Antoon had surgery. Underlying complications caused him to be disabled and lose his job. Mr. Antoon filed complaints against the Cleveland Clinic, the Ohio Department of Health, the State Medical Board of Ohio, the federal Centers for Medicare/Medicaid Services, the Joint Commission on Accreditation, and government insurance programs.
In his federal lawsuit, Mr. Antoon alleged that another doctor ended up performing the surgery and that Dr. Kaouk created false medical records and bills. The suit was filed under the False Claims Act, which is a law to prosecute companies that defraud governmental programs. Per the Act, the plaintiff, referred to as a “relator,” files the claim on behalf of the U.S. government, with the hopes that the government will intervene on the claim. In this case, the government did not take on Mr. Antoon’s case. The appeals court affirmed that decision and found Mr. Antoon does not have “direct and independent knowledge of the information upon which his fraud allegations are based.” Mr. Antoon is currently pursuing a medical malpractice lawsuit he filed against Dr. Koauk and the Cleveland Clinic in 2013. His case was dismissed in 2014, but the 8th District Court of Appeals reversed. The case is now before the Ohio Supreme Court.
When someone is injured or dies due to a health care provider’s negligence, financial recovery may be available. Such recovery is particularly important when permanent, life changing injuries are incurred. It is important to contact someone who understands the intricacies of the party’s right to recover.
Medical malpractice is a difficult area of law as it requires an understanding of both the legal practice and the mechanics of medicine. Abraham Watkins offers a free consultation to anyone wishing to pursue such claims.