SWFL doctors paying big for malpractice lawsuits

Posted at 6:40 PM, Aug 04, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-04 18:40:34-04

Many of us take trips to the doctor every year but have you ever thought - which ones have a track record of malpractice lawsuits?

A new report by Health News Florida reveals Southwest Florida doctor's offices are among the highest for paid claims between 2000 and 2016.

"Patient's lives are at risk from bad apples," said Carlos Cavenago, a Fort Myers based attorney at Parvey and Frankel Attorneys, P.A.

“When a radiologist is reading a report, there’s no room for making a mistake. If they make a mistake, they miss cancer. They miss something that can kill you,” Cavenago added.

Physicians who work at hospitals are not included in the report.

The numbers were based on data from the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation and Department of Health.
Dr. Philip Regala and Dr. Myles Samotin, both Board Certified orthopedic surgeons in the Naples and Bonita Springs area, had at least 8 paid claims, worth a combined total of $3.5 million dollars.

Malpractice claims do not necessarily mean physicians were at fault.

However, both physicians in this case did face disciplinary action by the state for prior complaints - Dr. Regala for mistakenly performing an incision on a patient's right hip when it was supposed to be done on the left in 2005 and Dr. Samotin for failing to diagnose a patient's Reflexive Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) in 2003.

“Every time someone gets cut open, there are known risks," Cavenago said.

Both physicians were ordered to pay a fine, complete community service hours and continuing education.

“Make sure your physician is board certified, check him or her out, Google him on the internet, see if they’ve ever been arrested before. Ask your neighbor, ask people you trust, ask patients,” Cavenago advised.

4 In Your Corner reached out to both offices Friday. Neither returned our phone calls.

The Department of Health revokes licenses from doctors with repeated medical malpractice convictions. This does not apply to those who settle out of court.

To look up the status of a medical professional's license and view their profile, click here.

To check the history of your physician's paid malpractice claims, click here.