Ophthalmologists are medical doctors licensed to perform medical and surgical treatments for eye conditions such as glaucoma, cataracts, vitreoretinal disease, etc. Litigation against ophthalmologists may involve allegations of incorrect surgical technique, missed diagnosis and complications of surgery.
In the news, Dr. Salomon Meglen, an ophthalmologist and retina specialist who had practiced in Palm Beach and St. Lucie Counties, was convicted by the of Department of Justice. Meglen defrauded Medicare by falsely diagnosing and treating scores of elderly patients for macular degeneration. Along with submitting false claims, he also altered patient charts.
A U.S. Attorney’s Office April 29, 2017, press release, South Florida Doctor Convicted of Sixty-Seven Criminal Counts Related to Medicare Fraud Scheme states:
Dr. Meglen, an ophthalmologist and retina specialist who had practiced in Palm Beach and St. Lucie counties with Vitreo Retinal Consultants and The Melgen Retina Eye Center, engaged in a scheme to defraud the Medicare program and other health care benefit programs, by, among other things, falsely diagnosing Medicare patients with macular degeneration and then performing and billing for medically unnecessary tests and procedures. As a result of these unnecessary practices, alone, the defendant received more than $90 million from the Medicare program during the six year period between January 2008 through December 2013. Melgen’s medical practice was closed following his arrest in April 2015.
Dr. Robert Bergen, a retired New Jersey retinal specialist, testified that Melgen used antiquated tests which were poorly administered to diagnose patients with macular degeneration. Dr. Bergen testified that most of Melgen’s patients did not have the eye disease he diagnosed, which can lead to blindness. In addition to medical negligence, Melgen was found guilty of defrauding Medicare of $105M. Melgen’s medical practice was closed following his arrest in April 2015.
Ophthalmology expert witnesses provide knowledgeable and reasoned testimony to the court. Allegations of medical negligence and fraud such as those presented in US v. Melgen are complicated. Expert witnesses provide a key role in litigation by analyzing and presenting evidence as to whether medical negligence has taken place.