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Altered Pathology Report

A Maryland man has won an $800,600 verdict in a malpractice case against a California surgeon. The award included $300,000 in punitive damages for intentional infliction of emotional distress.

The patient had a small skull based tumor that was threatening his hearing, and went to a doctor to remove the tumor. According to the lawsuit, the doctor removed something but it was not the tumor. The hospital’s pathology report supposedly showed that what was surgically removed was not a tumor. But instead of telling the patient, the lawsuit alleged that the doctor and/or others altered the report to hide from the patient the fact that the tumor actually was not removed. The patient subsequently lost his hearing and filed suit. A copy of an article on the case can be found here.

As an experienced Baltimore, Maryland and Washington, D.C. attorney who handles many medical malpractice and other catastrophic injury cases, I have successfully handled many cases involving important medical records. Clients of mine frequently ask whether there is any way to tell whether medical records have been improperly altered. I always explain that there are ways, such as comparing them to other records, comparing them to records which have been sent to others, and forensic document examination. At times, I have had medical records evaluated by forensic document examiners who can tell, using ink dating analysis or examination under special lighting, that documents have been altered. Computer systems even keep track of alterations of computerized medical records systems. Usually, when I can prove that a medical record was improperly altered, the case settles. To see some of the cases I have handled, click here.

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