A retired Air Force colonel is attempting to right a wrong, but he will need the Ohio Supreme Court to intervene. David Antoon underwent surgery to remove his cancerous prostate gland in January of 2008. The cancer is gone, but Antoon was left impotent, incontinent, and unable to work following the allegedly botched surgery.
Why the Supreme Court is involved
Ohio allows a four-year window to file suit for medical malpractice. With a new filing in the Supreme Court in 2015, Antoon is well outside the four-year window. However, he claims that the Cleveland Clinic obstructed his ability to file a suit within the appropriate time frame by denying access to records and other discovery. The delays caused by the Clinic caused Antoon to drop his first suit in 2011 because of rising legal costs.
Cleveland.com summed up the heart of the issue concisely, reporting, “Over the past six years, Antoon has filed several lawsuits and regulatory complaints seeking to pierce what he describes as a veil of medical secrecy surrounding his case. In 2010, CMS cited the Clinic for failing to take appropriate actions to resolve Antoon’s complaints, withholding information in a complaint file from an inspector, and failing to maintain proper consent forms for surgical patients.”
Proof would drop the suit
The root of the contention is whether or not Antoon’s surgeon, Dr. Jihad Kaouk, was present during his surgery. The CMS, in a separate inspection, found that Kaouk was performing what are known as concurrent surgeries, using doctors-in-training and other support staff to handle the routine details of surgery and only going hands-on during part of the procedure. While this is not unusual, it is important to Antoon, so much so that he offered to drop his lawsuit if the hospital could prove that Dr. Kaouk was present in the operating room.
The case is making waves because of the elapsed time. Heather Stutz, an attorney for the Ohio Hospital Association (among others), said, “Litigating a claim more than four years after the alleged malpractice presents the same difficulties in terms of obtaining relevant and reliable evidence, imposing an unacceptable burden on [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][medical] providers.”
While the case appears to be fairly straightforward, in that the Cleveland Clinic intentionally denied discovery to prevent Antoon from successfully pursuing a case, the devil is in the details. The Cleveland Clinic has a reputation for malpractice; our own Steve Crandall successfully fought and won a malpractice case against the Cleveland Clinic, resulting in a $7.7 million verdict for his client.
Whatever the circumstances, medical malpractice is devastating to its victims. If you or someone you know has been a victim, the compassionate and experienced medical malpractice attorneys at Crandall & Pera Law can be your advocates. Contact us today for a free consultation with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer in Ohio or Kentucky.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]