Weinberger loses appeal of malpractice suit
By Teresa Auch Schultz firstname.lastname@example.org January 31, 2013 11:44AM
Updated: January 31, 2013 8:53PM
Former Merrillville nose doctor and federal convict Mark Weinberger has lost another appeal.
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the $150,000 judgment that a Lake County jury ordered Weinberger to pay his former patient Gloria Gill, saying in a ruling released Thursday that a judge properly allowed evidence during the trial about Weinberger’s behavior shortly before he fled the country in 2004.
Weinberger is serving a seven-year sentence in the U.S. Bureau of Prisons after he pleaded guilty last year to 22 counts of health care fraud, admitting that he falsely billed insurance companies for surgeries he never performed on patients.
Hundreds of his patients are still seeking their own restitution through medical malpractice cases.
Gill claimed in hers that Weinberger performed surgery on her in 2003 after just a short consultation. Instead of helping her, though, surgery worsened her problems. Weinberger wouldn’t address her concerns, however, and she eventually saw on television that he fled the country in 2004.
Another doctor testified during the trial that Weinberger, who claimed to have performed at least seven different procedures on Gill during the surgery, did nothing more than drill two holes in her head that caused her increased health issues.
Weinberger appealed the judgment of $150,000, arguing that there wasn’t enough evidence to support the finding and that testimony about his flight shouldn’t have been included. One of his former employees, Janet Gadacz, testified that he received 30 to 40 packages a few weeks before he fled that included camping equipment and tarps.
Robert Handler, who was named the receiver of Weinberger’s practice after he fled, testified during the trial that he discovered Weinberger had also shipped a package of camping equipment to Paris, which Handler was able to recover before Weinberger picked it up.
Gadacz said she saw more disturbing behavior, including several people who arrived in a limousine and who spoke a foreign language visiting Weinberger. Their driver told her they possibly carried diamonds. Weinberger also started acting different, such as coming to work only partially clothed.
Appeals Judge Rudolph Pyle III said in his ruling that the evidence could be allowed because it showed Weinberger was fleeing to escape the malpractice cases being filed against him then and in the future, which included Gill’s.
This is the second civil appeal that Weinberger has lost. The court also ruled against him in the case filed by his former patient William Boyer, who was awarded $300,000.