Doctor in Medical Malpractice Suit Asks to Move Trial

Doctor in Medical Malpractice Suit Asks to Move TrialDr. Mark Weinberger, facing medical malpractice and healthcare fraud charges that could send him to jail for more than 200 years, has asked that his trial be moved to a different court district in Indiana for fear that the local media's coverage of the trial may have had an effect on jurors, NBC Chicago reports.

Weinberger's defense attorneys helped him submit a plea agreement on April 26, putting an end to the gruesome trial, but District Judge Phillip Simon rejected the plea, saying that his guilty plea on 22 counts of healthcare fraud in exchange for four years in prison did not include all of the other potential cases. The news source reports that at least 53 patients were billed for nose surgeries by their insurance companies, all of which could potentially be involved in his trial.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Weinberger faces hundreds of medical malpractice lawsuits related to his northwest Indiana practice, alleging that he performed useless operations and charged his patients' insurance far too much for his services. He is also accused of performing dozens of surgeries each day, many of which were outdated procedures. Many times, patients complained that their symptoms worsened after surgery.

Weinberger also faces a federal lawsuit filed by his malpractice insurance provider, as the company claims he was in breach of contract when he fled the country.

The overcharging and rapid surgeries were the ways he supported his lavish lifestyle, says the publication. For example, he reportedly took an hour-long chauffeured car ride back and forth to work each day and owned 20 cell phones because he hated to carry things from room to room.

However, as federal investigators closed in on the case in 2004, Weinberger disappeared from his 80-foot yacht off the coast of Greece, leaving behind a wife and more than $6 million in debts. Five years later, Italian officials captured him camping in the foothills of the Alps after hikers tipped police off about his location.

The trial, set to begin in January in Hammond, Indiana, is not Weinberger's first time in front of a judge. A jury in Lake County, Indiana, found him guilty in March and awarded his victim's family more than $13 million. The civil suit alleged that he failed to diagnose lung cancer in one of his patients, Phyllis Barnes. Instead, he allegedly used her as an intentional money making scheme, performing procedures for less serious or non-existent ailments.