INDIANAPOLIS | The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld a second medical malpractice judgment on Thursday against Mark Weinberger, the Merrillville nose doctor sentenced in October to seven years in federal prison for health care fraud.
In its 3-0 ruling, the appeals court affirmed the decision of a Lake County jury that found Weinberger committed malpractice on Gloria Gill. The jury awarded Gill $150,000.
According to court records, Gill sought treatment from Weinberger in December 2003 after experiencing migraine headaches and congestion. Weinberger told Gill she had polyps in her sinuses and that sinus surgery would solve her problems.
Weinberger performed the surgery three weeks later and declared in his operative report that he completed seven separate procedures, which the appeals court noted are "nearly every type of procedure within the field of sinus and nose surgery."
Gill's sinuses bled for several days following the surgery and she told Weinberger on follow-up visits that she felt sharp pains shooting through her face and cheekbones. She stopped seeing Weinberger after he took no corrective action within five months, according to court records.
Gill visited a different doctor after seeing a September 2004 news report that Weinberger had fled the country. Her new doctor discovered the only procedure Weinberger performed during Gill's surgery was drilling two unnecessary holes in her sinuses, which resulted in chronic sinusitis.
The state's medical review panel unanimously determined in 2009 that Weinberger failed to comply with the appropriate standard of care, leading to Gill's malpractice lawsuit and the judgment against Weinberger.
In his appeal, Weinberger argued the trial court improperly allowed Gill to claim patient abandonment and should not have admitted evidence Weinberger was preparing to leave the country in 2004 or that Gill was humiliated and angry when she learned of Weinberger's departure.
The appeals court rejected all of Weinberger's claims and upheld the decision of the Lake County jury.
In doing so, it relied on an October 2011 ruling in a similar case that upheld a $300,000 malpractice judgment on behalf of William Boyer, another Weinberger patient.
Weinberger, captured in Italy in 2009, is incarcerated at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in downtown Chicago, according to federal prison records.