It is appalling the amount of damage one doctor can do. Aria Sabit, a surgeon who specialized in spinal procedures, received a twenty-year sentence for fraud on January 9, 2017. It is impossible to know how many unnecessary procedures Dr. Sabit performed in his career, as he practiced first in California before moving to Detroit, Michigan.
Dr. Sabit is just the latest doctor arrested for malpractice and misuse of license in Detroit. According to prosecutors, in recent years more than 60 physicians have been arrested. The number of patients affected by just these doctors could easily number in the tens of thousands. Detroit has been particularly aggressive in pursuing these cases, and it is unknown if other jurisdictions suffer from a similar scale of physician fraud.
Dr. Sabit first drew attention in California by investing in a company that distributed spinal screws, then recommending the hospital he worked with use this distributor. Dr. Sabit then performed more of these procedures than seemed justified by the number of patients he saw. Perhaps fearing discovery, he moved to Michigan and started the process over again.
There are few legal protections for patients in instances where doctors invest in products they use. In some cases, this is a sign the physician has faith in the product. In others, the physician will attempt to use their authority to boost the bottom line of his investment. It was only a particularly egregious level of malpractice that drew attention to Dr. Sabit. His patients had a much higher level of rehospitalization than those treated by other doctors. Insurers started to take notice, as did the hospital, drawing attention to the many patients Dr. Sabit gravely injured and in some instances even killed.
Orthopedic surgery malpractice is more common than most people realize. It usually comes in one of two forms, either the performance of unnecessary procedures or botched surgeries. Dr. Sabit was guilty of both forms and faces significant prison time as a result.
Though criminal justice was done in this situation, prison time for the doctor does little to help the families who suffered because of his actions. If you or someone you love has suffered due to orthopedic surgery malpractice, the physical, emotional, and monetary costs are significant. Please contact a qualified attorney to help you determine how to proceed in getting justice for you.