The strange story of Dr. Mark Weinberger

CNBC, the business news channel, has a series called American Greed.  One of the episodes, which was recently aired, highlighted Dr. Mark Weinberger, an ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctor who had a clinic in Merrillville, Indiana.

Weinberger was extremely successful.  He focused on the most lucrative aspect of ENT, which is sinus treatment and surgery.  His income was in excess of $3 million per year.

He was living a high-roller lifestyle.  He lived in a multi-million dollar condo on Chicago’s Gold Coast, was chauffeured each day to Merrillville, had personal assistants, owned a boat in Europe, owned a jet, etc.

The problem was that he was committing healthcare fraud.  He was charging for surgeries that were taking place and was misdiagnosing illnesses.  In one case, a woman was suffering from throat cancer, which he failed to diagnose.  She eventually died.  In other cases, he performed surgeries that were inappropriate for the circumstances.

In 2004, malpractice cases, over 300 in total, began to be filed.  Later that year, the federal government began criminal proceedings against him.  In October, he abandoned his wife in Greece and unbeknownst to her, fled to Italy.

It wasn’t until early 2010 that he was captured by Italian police and extradited to the U.S.

He is currently facing 22 counts of healthcare fraud.  The feds offered a deal where he would plead guilty to all counts and serve 4 years in prison.  The judge rejected the deal as too lenient.  He still awaits trial.

The Indiana medical board initiated proceeding against his medical license in late 2004 and summarily suspended his license on December 16, 2004, for abandoning his patients and not forwarding their records to another physician.  The suspension was good for 90 days and was renewed two more times until a final order was entered on May 10, 2005, revoking his license, assessing a civil penalty of $2,000 and costs of over $3,700.

From the Indiana Medical Board website:

Advanced Search for First Name mark, Last Name weinberger, Board Medical Licensing Board.

Last Name First Name MI License Board Date Type
Weinberger Mark S 01045912A Medical Licensing Board of Indiana 10/15/2004 Petition for Summary Suspension 89k
Weinberger Mark S 01045912A Medical Licensing Board of Indiana 12/16/2004 ES Order 108k
Weinberger Mark S 01045912A Medical Licensing Board of Indiana 01/31/2005 Complaint 58k
Weinberger Mark S 01045912A Medical Licensing Board of Indiana 02/04/2005 ES Order 116k
Weinberger Mark S 01045912A Medical Licensing Board of Indiana 04/14/2005 ES Order 111k
Weinberger Mark S 01045912A Medical Licensing Board of Indiana 04/14/2005 Notice of Proposed Default 93k
Weinberger Mark S 01045912A Medical Licensing Board of Indiana 05/10/2005 Findings of Fact and Order 175k

 

Illinois revoked his license on April 12, 2006 for the discipline in Indiana, on what is termed a “sister state” action.

The moral of this story for licensees is to control greed and abide by the law to avoid winding up like this doctor.  For patients, always get a second opinion.  Those patients who did so learned that Weinberger was not providing proper care.  Unfortunately for others, their health and even their lives have been permanently affected.

Source: CNBC, American Greed, http://www.cnbc.com/id/40535969

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