Illinois appeals court dismisses case involving patient and orthopedic surgeon

Written by Alan Condon | May 17, 2019 | Print  |

An Illinois appeals court ruled that orthopedic surgeon Sarmad Elias, MD, did not act in good faith when he agreed to a $25,000 settlement with a patient, reports Law 360.

Dr. Elias faced potentially millions of dollars in liability after he treated former Illinois Central Railroad worker Antwon Ross' on-the-job injury.

Five details:

1. The settlement — which was found to be low due to Mr. Ross owing Dr. Elias hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills— was entered amid "undeniably damning" evidence that Dr. Elias deviated from the standard of care when he treated Mr. Ross over a period of years, according to the court.

2. Mr. Ross sued ICR for what the company estimates is a $3.5 million claim over his injuries after a workplace fall, but an expert hired by ICR concluded that his injuries were due to unnecessary surgeries from Dr. Elias. The settlement between Dr. Elias and Mr. Ross cut off ICR's claim against Dr. Elias.

3. ICR said that most of Mr. Ross' medical bills were due to Dr. Elias' alleged malpractice — a figure that the court said, "pales in comparison to the $25,000 Dr. Elias paid to extricate himself from this case."

4. According to the three-judge panel, Mr. Ross was treated by Dr. Elias for two vertebra-stabilizing procedures, a spinal fusion, multiple nerve blocks for pain control, steroid injections, dozens of office visits, and 173 physical therapy sessions and never returned to work.

5. Dr. Elias and Mr. Ross settled for $25,000, intended to resolve all claims for contribution against Dr. Elias but it did not mention the medical liens he had placed against Mr. Ross and depended on the court finding the deal in good faith, according to the panel.

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