"Nose Doc" Case Goes to Jury

Family of Phyllis Barnes seeking about $50M in medical malpractice suit

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Mark Weinberger

    Update: Jury finds Mark Weinberger guilty of malpractice, awards $13 million to family of victim.

    The sensational case of a former doctor turned fugitive is now in the hands of a jury.

    Attorneys in the medical malpractice case of former Indiana nose doctor Mark Weinberger made their final arguments Thursday.  

    The family of Phyllis Barnes alleges Weinberger was negligent and failed to diagnose Barnes' lung cancer.

    "I think the hardest part is reliving everything again and to realize to how long it took her before she found anyone who could help her," said Barnes' daughter, Shawn Barnes.

    Barnes was suffering from a raspy throat and nasal problems when she went to see Weinberger, the lawsuit stated.  She was treated for other issues but the cancer went undiagnosed.

    In the suit, attorney Kenneth J. Allen alleges that Weinberger's actions were not mistakes but rather an intentional scheme to make money doing unnecessary surgeries.

    Barnes died from the disease in 2004, just days before Weinberger's disappearance.

    "How long she struggled with feeling sick and unhealthy and how hard she tried to find someone who would diagnose her actual problem [is difficult to understand]," said Barnes' sister, Peggy Hood.

    The family is asking for about $50 million in punitive damages.

    An Indiana medical review board has already decided Weinberger's actions failed to comply with ethical standards.

    He pleaded guilty in October to 22 counts of health care fraud for charges of billing patients for nose surgeries he never performed.  Sentencing is scheduled for April 27.

    Weinberger also faces more than 350 medical malpractice suits in Indiana, as well as a federal lawsuit filed by his malpractice insurance provider. The company contends Weinberger breached his contract when he fled the country, becoming an international fugitive.

    He was captured on a mountain in Italy after he disappeared during a family vacation to Greece. A guide on the mountain tipped off police that Weinberger was living in a tent, equipped with survival gear.

    Full Coverage: Mark Weinberger