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Doctor’s escape from medical malpractice lawsuit in bankruptcy filing

In 2001, a neurosurgeon’s surgical drill slipped from his hands and sliced the exposed nerves in the patient’s lower back. Because of the medical malpractice, the patient was left with no control of her bladder, bowels, pain in her legs, numbness in her feet and no feeling in her vagina.

Like many other surgeons in some states, this doctor did not have medical malpractice lawsuit coverage. He found refuge from the lawsuit in filing for bankruptcy under Chapter 7, listing malpractice claims as his reason for filing. The U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Palm Beach County blocked this patient and another’s claims of malpractice against the doctor. Moreover, the doctor who committed the surgical error was able to keep almost all of his assets, including a $1.6 million oceanfront home and maintain his $400,000 annual salary. The doctor’s attorney was quoted as saying the doctor’s actions were not uncommon.

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