According to news reports, an Orange County podiatrist, Renae Louise Witt, was sentenced to almost a year in jail for billing insurance companies for services she never performed. When one of the involved insurance companies began investigating, Dr. Witt fabricated medical records in an apparent attempt to conceal her crimes. She was found guilty of fraud after a jury trial in February. According to records from the Podiatric Medical Board (PMB) of California, Dr. Witt has quite a colorful history of practice issues.
What is perhaps most interesting about the case above is the number of years Dr. Witt continued to practice even after issues arose regarding allegations of fraud. It appears from the PMB records that Dr. Witt was issued a “Non-Disciplinary Citation” in August of 2014 for fraud. According to that citation, an investigation “found an extreme departure from the standard of care for billing for services not provided based on the documented medical records.” Also of interest is one of the allegations in the more recent filing by the PMB. In that formal Accusation, filed in 2018, Dr. Witt was accused of driving a “vehicle, while under the influence of drugs, on her way to performing a surgery.” Additional allegations within that Accusation include those having to do with the commission of billing fraud.
Protect Yourself from Malpractice by Doing Your Homework
In general, it is a good idea to do some background research into the physician you are considering before any procedure. A simple Google search for their professional reviews can alert you to concerns other patients have had with the doctor in the past. A search of the relevant professional board can also help in evaluating a doctor and/or surgeon you are considering, although that online information tends to be less than current. Also, the standard for disciplinary action by a professional board, including the Medical Board of California, is whether the doctor committed a gross or extreme departure from the standard of care. The standard of care is what a reasonable health care professional would do under the same or similar circumstances. In a civil lawsuit for malpractice seeking money damages, there need only be conduct below the standard of care that causes the patient harm. In other words, the breach of the standard of care does not have to be gross or extreme.
In addition, a basic look at a doctor’s credentials can be of substantial assistance in selecting a health care provider to do a particular procedure. For example, when deciding upon a surgeon to perform a cosmetic procedure, it is often a good idea to find a qualified plastic and reconstructive surgeon. The qualifications of providers performing cosmetic surgery varies widely. In fact, in a recent case handled by this office, a family practice physician performed a cosmetic procedure (a Brazilian Butt Lift) with less than stellar results, not surprisingly.
Contact an Orange County Malpractice Attorney for Help
If you were injured or a loved one killed by a negligent health care professional, seeking the advice of an experienced malpractice attorney is likely the best first step to take toward obtaining compensation for the injuries and damages suffered. Mr. Ralph has more than 30 years of experience at handling personal injury and malpractice cases in Orange County and the Southern California area. His office is centrally located in Orange County for the convenience of his clients. Mr. Ralph’s services are provided on a contingency basis so if there is no recovery there are no fees. He can be reached for a free consultation by calling the number below or simply sending a message with the details of your potential case.