Nearly 300 patients sought the services of Dr. Mark Weinberger, an Indiana otolaryngologist (an ear, nose and throat specialist), complaining of allergies, congestion, headaches, and snoring. Instead of treating their conditions, however, the self-proclaimed “Nose Doctor” treated the patients for non-existing conditions that ultimately resulted in the doctor performing unnecessary surgical procedures. The Nose Doctor prematurely diagnosed patients with some sort of mucus drainage blockage condition. A Medspace article provides Weinberger then recommended and performed an outdated and problematic procedure of drilling two holes in the patient’s maxillary sinuses to supposedly facilitate mucus drainage. A major risk associated with such a procedure involves recirculation of mucus, thereby worsening the sinus complications. Most of the patient’s conditions could have been cured with medication or nasal irrigation.
In their medical malpractice claim, the patients alleged that the surgeries performed by Dr. Weinberger were not only unnecessary and fake, but led to devastating permanent physical changes. In one particular case, the Nose Doctor wrongly diagnosed a patient with a sinus problem when in actuality the patient had throat cancer. The patient died due to the misdiagnosis, which initiated a wrongful death suit by the decedent’s family.
In fear of the pending lawsuits, the Nose Doctor fled while on vacation in Greece in 2004. He would not be seen again for five years. On top of the alleged medical malpractice claims, in 2006 the federal government charged Weinberger with healthcare fraud for filing fictitious procedures with insurance companies amounting in over $530,000.