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Last updated on Wednesday, March 4, 2009
(MERRILLVILLE) - A Merrillville surgeon who ran a sinus clinic and is now a fugitive has been found guilty of medical malpractice in the death of a patient.
50-year-old Phyllis Barnes died of throat cancer in 2004, but Dr. Mark Weinberger had diagnosed her as needing sinus surgery. Shortly before she died, Dr. Weinberger abandoned his medical practice, deserted his wife and fled to Greece.
Malpractice claims in Indiana are judged first by a panel of three randomly selected physicians to hopefully avoid a jury trial. In this case, Attorney Kenneth Allen says the panel unanimously found Dr. Weinberger guilty of negligence in Phyllis Barnes' death. But Weinberger's insurance company refuses to pay the judgment since he's a fugitive and won't cooperate.
Allen maintains the Indiana Department of Insurance should pay the judgment instead so the Barnes family can avoid a jury trial. He says there are hundreds of cases pending against Dr. Weinberger, but so far this is the first and only case to be decided.
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