Dr. Mark S. Weinberger, who fled the country for several years after performing numerous unnecessary surgeries on his patients’ sinuses, must pay one patient $150,000 on a medical malpractice claim.
Gloria Gill is just one of many of Weinberger’s former patients who sued him for medical malpractice. Weinberger, an ear, nose and throat doctor in northwest Indiana, disappeared while on vacation in the Mediterranean with his family in 2004 and was apprehended in the Italian Alps in 2009.
In 2003, Weinberger told Gill she needed sinus surgery to relieve her migraines and congestion problems. He made it seem like he performed seven types of surgeries on her sinuses; in fact, like with other patients, he merely drilled two holes in the sinuses. Her pain got worse and she eventually stopped seeing Weinberger in April 2004 for follow-up appointments because he was not receptive to her issues.
A medical review panel found Weinberger failed to comply with the appropriate standard of care and Gill sued in March 2010. Testimony at the trial showed that Weinberger had shipped camping equipment to his office, seemed nervous and may have fled because of the mounting medical malpractice suits against him. The jury awarded her $150,000.
The appellate court held in Mark S. Weinberger, M.D., et al. v. Gloria Gill, 45A05-1203-CT-107, the trial court didn’t err in denying Weinberger’s motion for a judgment on the evidence regarding Gill’s claim of patient abandonment, citing Weinberger v. Boyer, 956 N.E.2d 1095 (Ind. Ct. App. 2011), which also involved a patient suing for medical malpractice.
The judges also held that the testimony concerning Weinberger’s odd behavior and subsequent flight was relevant admissible evidence because it established an inference of consciousness of guilt. It does not matter that Gill stopped seeing Weinberger before he fled.
Lastly, Weinberger waived for review his claim that the court erred in letting Gill testify that she felt humiliated and angry when she learned Weinberger had disappeared in the middle of the night. Weinberger failed to object to Gill’s testimony at trial.