It’s reasonable, or so most Ann Arbor residents might think, to expect that a surgeon preparing to operate on a patient will have the appropriate licensure to do so. Perhaps even more so, patients undergoing surgery anticipate that the procedure will be performed correctly, or at least that any mistakes would be acknowledged and appropriately addressed. A recently revealed series of medical malpractice episodes right here in Michigan, however, threatens this confidence and leaves many wondering: what about the victims?

The surgeon in question has been practicing in our state since 2011. One particular patient went to him for surgery on his spine two years ago. After the surgery, the patient complained of tingling and even a “blood-boiling” sensation in his legs, for which he was prescribed ongoing painkillers. Eventually the patient went to another physician who discovered that the surgery had never even been performed.

That surgeon, it turns out, had previously been sued for back surgery-related medical malpractice more than 12 times out on the West Coast. He lost his medical license entirely as a result. He now faces federal charges which include billing for surgeries that were never completed. Due in part to his apparent search for new surgical jobs overseas, he’s being held as a flight risk.

On the one hand, it’s a relief when fraudulent or otherwise professionally negligent practitioners like this are exposed, for they will likely do no further harm again. But a criminal trial provides no actual compensation for the pain, suffering, medical expenses and other losses suffered by victims in such cases. This is when a legal professional can help victims pursue a personal injury claim for medical malpractice — and the evidence from a criminal trial may also be used to support such a claim.

Source: MLive, “FBI digs deeper on Detroit-area doctor accused performing fraudulent back surgeries,” Khalil AlHajal, Dec. 6, 2014