Thursday, August 27, 2009

The case for NO TORT REFORM - Chris Dangles, MD

My friends and family tell me that the last nine (9) years of my life have been ruined by medical malpractice. I disagree. No one can ruin my life unless I give them permission.

I consented that Chris J. Dangles, M.D. could perform multiple unnecessary surgeries on my ankles. I was an active young woman who was training for a mini triathlon at the time my left foot went into a bunny hold. No ligament damage. No broken bones. Just a surgeon with a tremendous ego that promised me that he could change my life. Dr. Dangles did change my life - just not in a good way.

Under oath at a deposition, Dr. Dangles stated that he did not know why I wanted the surgeries. He intimated that I had a drug seeking problem and an alcohol abuse problem. Oddly enough, Dr. Dangles never expressed those concerns to me during his treatment. But years later . . .

The Duke University Medical orthopedic surgeon is a tremendous surgeon and human being - but not willing to help me hold Dr. Dangles. The Duke surgeon told me "I just want to practice medicine." I respect that - but I believe that it is wrong for a physician to sit silently and know that another physician is hurting patients.

Physicians and surgeons simply must monitor their own profession and hold those members of the profession that deviate from the standard of care accountable.

Frivolous lawsuits are not widespread. That is simply a myth by the medical community. Every medical malpractice lawsuit must attach a letter from a competent physician who makes the assertion that the suit is well founded.

The problem with medical malpractice matters is that the physicians, surgeons, nurses, hospitals drag out the cases and defame the injured plaintiffs.

As a patient who was injured by a man whom I firmly believe is an incompetent orthopedic surgeon (Chris Dangles, MD of Carle Clinic Association in Urbana, IL), I know first hand:

1. How orthopedic surgeons (Dr. Chris Dangles) can intimidate patients into surgeries with unrealistic promises;

2. How "bad orthopedic surgeons" (Dr. Chris Dangles) are protected by state medical boards;

3. How "bad orthopedic surgeons" (Dr. Chris Dangles) provide their medical malpractice attorneys with copies of the aggrieved/injured patient's mental health records in order to embarrass and discredit the patient;

4. How the AMA and the AAOS actually threatens its members from testifying for injured plaintiffs;

5. How the AAOS waives the re-certification requirement for orthopedic surgeons who obtain certified prior to 1985. What? These are precisely the orthopedic surgeons who should expect Maintenance of Certification (MOC).

How does the AAOS explained the grandfather that benefits surgeons with outdated knowledge while simultaneously endangering the lives of the patients?

Another question dealt with the number of diplomates currently certified by the ABOS who fall under the “grandfather clause,” meaning that they are not required to participate in the MOC process because their certificates were issued prior to 1985. Dr. DeRosa estimated that 40 percent of those who are currently certified by the ABOS are in this category and that the percentage is decreasing every year as these older orthopaedists retire.

G. Paul DeRosa, MD, executive director of ABOS and member of the Joint ABOS/AAOS MOC task force

So spare me the cries of how frivolous suits are destroying health care.

1. I am effectively crippled because of Chris J Dangles, MD (Carle Clinic Association in Urbana, IL).

2. My elderly parents' financial situation has plummeted as they try to get me medical care. My parents worry every day about how I can walk again and then work again. I beat invasive breast cancer in 2007 - but I could not beat Dr. Dangles . . . yet.

3. My law license was suspended because I was unable to properly represent clients during the time Dr. Dangles repeatedly ruined my ankles and left me unable to get to court. (Ironically, a psychiatrist at the same facility, James Whisenand, MD knew I was taking strong pain killers and whenever I told Dr. Whisenand that I was sad because of my poor physical condition, Dr. Whisenand upped the meds - anti-depressants, anti-psychotics, tranquilizers, anti-seizure drugs.)

The doctors at Carle Clinic Association had me doped up and then handed me crutches. No wonder I was sad and frustrated at not being able to get from courtroom A and across the street to courtroom B fast enough.

Thank God I am out of Central Illinois and away from Carle Clinic Association. But nine (9) years later, I still cannot walk without pain and swelling in my knee. Kudos Dr. Chris Dangles.

So what did happen to Dr. Chris Dangles in this horrifying environment of frivolous medical malpractice lawsuits? There must have been something? Right? Nope.

1. Dr. Chris Dangles was never disciplined by the state of Illinois medical board (although the board expressed that his behavior was "of concern" to them)

2. Dr. Chris Dangles was never brought in front of a judge to account for his deviation from the standard of care and damage to my body.

3. Dr. Chris Dangles is included in the board certification grandfather clause so that he never has to re-certify his orthopedic board certification.

4. Dr. Chris Dangles' "permanent record" looks pristine. On paper, he looks like the guy you would want to have put you to sleep and then rip you open with a scalpel. ASK QUESTIONS OF DR. DANGLES. IF HE SEEMS ARROGANT OR UNAVAILABLE ---- run, crawl, call a cab.

In my personal experience and humble opinion, tort reform is a non-starter unless and until "bad doctors" are properly disciplined so that the public is protected.

I am insulted and offended by claims of defensive medicine. Grow up doctors. Learn to talk to your patients. Learn to chart properly. Insurance companies simply should not pay for defensive medicine procedures if they are truly unnecessary procedures.

Medical professionals sometimes hurt patients (don't even get me started on the incompetence of Duke University Hospital "hospitalists" and incompetence and near death events with my dad because of the incompetence.)


1. The only way that the average injured patient can even get an attorney to represent them in court is if there is the possibility of an award for pain and suffering and punitive damages. Attorneys need to get paid too.

2. Think of the injured elderly person - there is no lost income. What incentive would a medical malpractice attorney have to take a viable case. No medical malpractice case. No state medical board discipline. The "bad doctor" is still practicing medicine and, in the case of an elderly person . . . there is very often a funeral.

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