Waiting for a doctor’s appointment or treatment with a specialist can be a frustrating process. Recently, concierge medical practices have allowed patients to pay a yearly fee or retainer to a doctor in exchange for quicker, more personal service.
Hiring a concierge doctor allows patients to bypass many of the frustrations of a regular doctor’s office. Patients can be seen at their convenience, and have longer appointment times than in a traditional office. For patients who are chronically ill or in poor health generally, paying a yearly fee for concierge service may save both time and money.
While concierge medical practices promise exception care and personal service, sometimes this is not the case. One of the largest concierge medical companies recently lost a lawsuit after promising to provide a patient with exceptional service but failing.
MDVIP, Inc., is a nationwide concierge medical service. It employs over 700 physicians in 43 states, and prides itself on hiring only doctors with excellent reputations and stellar credentials. However, when Joan Beber used the service, an MDVIP’s doctor’s negligence resulted in an unnecessary amputation of her leg.
Ms. Beber and her husband paid a $1,500 per year fee for MDVIP’s services. In 2008, Ms. Beber saw a MDVIP doctor after having a sudden pain in her leg. Metzger’s office provided pain medication, and saw Ms. Beber multiple times throughout the course of a month, but failed to ever provide an accurate diagnosis for the pain and numbness in her foot. Eventually, she was referred to a neurosurgeon who diagnosed the problem as a blood clot, and who scheduled immediate surgery. Unfortunately, the clot had caused too much damage and her leg had to be amputated.
Ms. Beber sued both Dr. Metzger and MDVIP, alleging that Metzger was negligent in failing to diagnose her condition and that MDVIP had mislead her about the quality of doctors and the quality of care she would receive by using the service.
At trial in Florida, a jury found both that Dr. Metzger was negligent in failing to diagnose the blot clot, and that MDVIP had engaged in false advertising and deceptive marketing practices. In addition, the jury found that since MDVIP employed Dr. Metzger, the company itself was also responsible for his negligence.
The jury awarded Ms. Beber’s family $8.5 million in damages, including $1 million in damages for pain and suffering from Dr. Metzger, and $7 million in damages from MDVIP.
Though this case was decided in Florida, MDVIP employs doctors across the country. The decision may allow other patients who are injured by the negligence of concierge doctors to seek additional compensation or damages from the company which manages the doctors.
Any time a patient is injured by a doctor’s malpractice, that patient deserves to be compensated for his or her additional pain and suffering. In order to receive these damages, patients should work with an experienced malpractice attorney. At the Trial Law Offices of Bradley I. Kramer, M.D., Esq., we work to help you get the justice you deserve after an injury.
For a free consultation with a Los Angeles medical malpractice lawyer, call (310) 289-2600 or use our online contact form to have your case reviewed.