Criminal Charges against NJ, NY Doctors Accused of Bribery, Fraud, Medical Malpractice
A New York doctor and a New Jersey doctor have been convicted and sentenced to serious prison time for directing patients to labs that had provided the physicians with financial kickbacks.
There is an expectation that doctors will always prioritize a patient’s health and welfare when treating the patient. However, in some cases, doctors put profits ahead of their patients’ wellbeing. When this happens, medical malpractice lawsuits may follow and, in the most egregious instances, criminal charges can potentially be filed against the negligent doctors.
Negligent Doctors in New Jersey and New York
The first case involved Bret Ostrager, a family physician with an office in New York. Ostrager was accused of accepting kickbacks from laboratories in exchange for directing his patients to those labs for blood work.
After being convicted in U.S. District Court in Newark NJ, Ostrager returned to the courtroom for formal sentencing. The district court judge, Stanley Chesler, told Ostrager that he committed a serious violation of medical ethics by failing to properly care for and serve his patients. “You forgot the oath you took when you became a doctor,” said the federal judge before sentencing the target of his ire to 37 months in a federal penitentiary.
One of the reasons for the harsh sentence is that Ostrager already made a great deal of money from his medical practice but still felt the need to squeeze even more money out of his patients. According to prosecutors in the case, Ostrager received kickbacks totaling more than $100,000.
The second case involved a doctor from Jamesburg, New Jersey. Paresh Patel is an internal medicine doctor who practiced in Jamesburg, which is located in Middlesex County, NJ. Patel was accused of accepting financial kickbacks from a different laboratory in exchange for providing the lab with his patients’ diagnostic work. Federal prosecutors alleged that Patel used the extra money he obtained illegally to cover his property taxes and pay for remodeling jobs on his home.
Patel’s case was heard in U.S. District Court in Trenton NJ, with the federal judge ultimately sentencing the defendant to 12 months behind bars.
Fraud by Physicians Is a Major Problem
Law enforcement officials have become increasingly worried about fraud committed by doctors, surgeons and other medical professionals in recent years because patients depend on their physicians to properly treat them for serious injuries and illnesses. The problem, said US Attorney Paul J. Fishman, is that there is so much “money to be made and stolen in health care” that unethical medical professionals are basically incentivized to cut corners when it comes to patients’ wellbeing.
For further information, view the NJ.com article, “Medical Malpractice: The Alarming Number of Doctors Busted for Bribery.”
If you or a loved one has suffered an illness or sustained a personal injury as a result of negligence by a doctor, physician or nurse, you should talk to a knowledgeable medical malpractice attorney immediately. The NJ personal injury and medical malpractice lawyers at Drazin and Warshaw, P.C. have more than 70 years of combined experience dealing with these types of cases. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation about your case.