san diego chargers doctor hit with $2.2 million penalty

Yikes. Last week in San Diego, a former patient of David Chao, team doctor for the San Diego Chargers, was awarded $2.2 million by an arbitration panel that found Chao was negligent when he performed hip surgery on her in May 2007: Chargers doctor hit with $2.2 million penalty.

According to the patient, who filed a malpractice suit, Chao lacerated her femoral artery, vein and nerve, resulting in chronic pain and a limp. Ouch. And this is apparently just the latest in a string of legal troubles for Chao:
In 2009, he reached an undisclosed settlement with a patient, Tom Fagan, who sued him and other care providers after he underwent knee replacement surgery by Chao in 2007. Fagan said in court documents that the carelessness of the defendants in his treatment required amputation of his right leg. Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla agreed to a $1.39 million settlement with Fagan, according to court records.

Chao has been sued 20 times since 1998 by patients alleging malpractice, personal injury, negligence or fraud. At least eight of those have been settled with payouts to plaintiffs, many of them undisclosed. Last year, federal drug enforcement authorities searched Chao’s office and alleged he had written 108 prescriptions with himself listed as the patient, which is not legal. Chao and the local pharmacy involved, RSF Pharmaceuticals, said he was not writing prescriptions to himself and that the allegations stemmed from clerical errors. A Drug Enforcement Administration spokeswoman recently said the investigation remains ongoing.
On top of all that, past complaints against Chao accuse him of abusing alcohol, unprofessional conduct related to drinking and driving, and unlawful narcotics prescriptions. It doesn't add up to a flattering picture of this guy's practice. More here: Chargers Team Doctor Found Liable For Injuring Patient.

All things considered, if I was making decisions for the Chargers, I would seriously rethink the team's professional relationship with Dr. David Chao.

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