Many of our clients who come in with medical malpractice cases are sure their cases will be easy to prove. No one (in our practice, anyway) goes to the trouble of suing for malpractice unless they have been seriously injured and they know their medical provider was at fault. Recently, a client in Warrenton asked me why medical malpractice is so hard to prove when the facts of the case seem so clear and straightforward. It’s a good question! The long answer is more complicated, but here’s a clue: sometimes, doctors lie.
I absolutely saw red when I came across this article about a doctor who admitted to lying under oath to protect a fellow doctor during a medical malpractice trial. The patient had suffered a stroke and permanent disability. Dr. Lars Aanning had been called to testify in support of his colleague, the doctor who performed the operation that led to the patient’s stroke. Dr. Aanning now says he KNEW his colleague’s skills were sub-par. He had seen other patients suffer injuries under the care of this doctor. But when asked on the witness stand whether he knew of any time this doctor’s care had been substandard, he said “No, never.” And, he admits now, he lied.
Let that take a moment to sink in. First, that he lied under oath – NO ONE should do that, ever! Second, that he betrayed his own oath as a physician, “first, do no harm.” And third – that he had known all along his colleague was harming patients, and he did NOTHING to stop him, NOTHING to protect patients. And when he had the chance to do something, in court, to allow one patient to receive some measure of justice, he lied!
Dr. Aanning says this happens all the time. Doctors lie to protect colleagues. Patients aren’t told the truth about their medical injuries. Nurses are afraid to speak out for fear of retaliation. So even when you have a strong case, medical professionals who lie under oath or withhold information can complicate your case.
That’s what I told my client in Warrenton, but it’s true all over Virginia. Having a strong case where an injury was caused by medical error is only the starting point of what is a long race to recover damages. It’s my job to help clients navigate the race course, and I have found that because we take the time to make our cases as detailed as we possibly can, with multiple sources of information, it is harder for one witness like Dr. Aanning to have an impact. Still, knowing guys like him are out there keeps my fires burning – they should not get away with that garbage, and if I have anything to say about it, they won’t!
If you are interested in learning more about medical malpractice cases in Virginia, download my FREE book Why Most Medical Malpractice Victims Never Recover a Dime. You can also call BenGlassLaw at (703) 584-7277.