Patients who claimed that Mark Weinberger, M.D. committed medical malpractice were vindicated on June 24, 2013 when Judge Pera of the Lake Superior Court approved a $55 million settlement on their behalf. The 282 plaintiffs were represented by the Merrillville, Indiana personal injury law firm of Theodoros & Rooth, P.C. and the Indianapolis law firm of Cohen & Malad, LLP. Perry Theodoros, a founding partner of Theodoros & Rooth, P.C., thanked Indiana Commissioner of Insurance Stephen W. Robertson “for his willingness to take the necessary and unprecedented steps to compensate Weinberger’s many victims.” Each of the 282 patients will receive an average settlement of just under $200,000.
In 2001, Weinberger purchased an ear, nose and throat practice in Merrillville, Indiana, outfitting the offices lavishly and aggressively marketing himself as The Nose Doctor. Weinberger saw a hundred patients a day and added 120 new patients a month. He reported earning $30.5 million in three years on his tax returns. Weinberger owned a five story town-house condominium in Chicago valued at $2.4 million, an 80-foot yacht worth about $4 million and a $750,000 property in the Bahamas.
According to court records, to make his millions, Weinberger performed hundreds of unnecessary sinus surgeries, using outdated surgical procedures and aggravating many patients’ conditions. In almost every case, patients were given the exact same diagnosis after being shown images of their CT scans which supposedly showed infected sinuses. All the patients agreed to undergo surgery as a result of the misdiagnosis. Weinberger performed these needless surgeries on children, even as young as five years-old, whose sinuses were not yet fully formed. He put his patients under anesthesia where Weinberger needlessly removed bone and tissue from their sinuses, and then billed them thousands of dollars.
After law partners Perry Theodoros and Barry Rooth began investigating Weinberger in 2004, the doctor became the object of probes by the FBI and the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations. Weinberger disappeared just months before a federal grand jury convened in 2004, leaving behind his wife and $6 million in debt. His employees were unable to access their retirement plans. Patients could not retrieve their medical records to have their conditions accurately diagnosed. When his medical practice went into receivership, the same patients were billed for outstanding medical bills related to the unnecessary surgeries.
The State of Indiana revoked Weinberger’s medical license in 2005. Due to limited resources, the U.S. Attorney’s office was only able to investigate a few of the doctor’s hundreds, if not thousands, of cases. In 2006, Weinberger was charged with health care fraud based on a random sampling of 25 cases, 22 of which involved fraud totaling $529,000. Weinberger remained in hiding until December 2009, Italian police found Weinberger living in a tent on a mountainside in the Italian Alps. After extradition to the United States, Weinberger pled guilty to 22 counts of health care fraud in 2011 and was sentenced to 84 months in jail in 2012.
It has been a long road for the patients, most of whose suits were lodged in 2004 and 2005. Tenacious and aggressive representation by Theodoros & Rooth, P.C. led to the successful resolution of the medical malpractice litigation against Weinberger. If you believe you have been the victim of medical malpractice, contact their office immediately.