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Florida Woman Sues for Medical Negligence

A Florida woman and her husband are suing neurosurgeon Dr. Douglas F. Martin for medical negligence, alleging that his surgical mistake led to a serious and debilitating infection. Rhoda Fruchter underwent a procedural neck surgery in which Dr. Martin, “bored holes into the wrong vertebrae,” and screwed distraction pins in wrongly.

Following the error, the patient and her husband claim that Dr. Martin attempted to remove the pins from the wrong location and put them in the correct vertebrae, never admitting the error that had occurred. It wasn't until that September that Fruchter learned of the mistake through a “raging infection”, when she was forced to undergo another surgery to remedy the problem.

While Dr. Martin has been the target of over 16 medical malpractice claims since 1984, he maintains that the Fruchter's allegations are falsified. “Infection is an accepted complication of surgery, but she didn't have an infection,” claims the outraged doctor. Dr. Martin asserts that Rhoda Fruchter failed to comply with his advice regarding when she could go back to work and be active again, and her lack of observance led ultimately to her troubles.

Despite Martin's argument that he is the victim in this case, the doctor is well known in the state of Florida as having a great deal of malpractice cases. Dr. Martin, who ranked in the top ten for malpractice payouts in 1997, has spent an estimated $560,000 in settlements over the past several years. Martin defends himself from these statistics by arguing that he does not know one neurosurgeon who has not been sued.

Martin, like many high-risk surgeons, does not have medical malpractice insurance and was forced to file for bankruptcy in 2000. The state of Florida allows doctors to practice without medical malpractice insurance if they meet a number of specific requirements. Fruchter's attorney, of Boca Raton says that everyone makes mistakes, “but this guy should not be practicing medicine.” The attorney referred to trying to settle a legal dispute with Dr. Martin as trying “to get blood from a turnip. The practical problem is that no one will ever see a nickel.”

If you have been involved in a medical malpractice case, it can be helpful to consult with a qualified medical malpractice attorney.


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