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Malpractice Trial Wrapping Up For Infamous ‘Nose Doctor’

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Mark Weinberger

“Nose doctor” Mark Weinberger has pleaded guilty to federal criminal healthcare fraud charges. (Credit: CBS)

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HAMMOND, Ind. (CBS/WBBM) – Closing arguments are due later this week in a medical malpractice case against a notorious northwest Indiana “nose doctor.”

As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Regine Schlesinger reports, the family of Sue Barnes is suing former Merrillville, Ind., ear, nose and throat specialist Mark Weinberger, and Joe Clinkenbeard, a physician assistant from Valparaiso.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Regine Schlesinger reports

They accuse Weinberger of performing unnecessary sinus surgery on Barnes.

Plaintiff attorney Kenneth Allen contended their alleged failure to diagnose Barnes’ cancer led to her death in 2004 at age 50.

Weinberger is being sued for medical malpractice by more than 350 other former patients and faces an April 27 sentencing hearing for federal criminal healthcare fraud charges to which he pleaded guilty. He was arrested as a fugitive in northern Italy in 1999, and was brought back to Indiana after trying to commit suicide with a box cutter he had hidden in his rectum.

Clinkenbeard, who didn’t know or work with Weinberger, treated Barnes 11 times in 2000 and 2001 for a variety of sinus and bronchial complaints. Weinberger performed serious sinus surgery on her late in 2001, surgery that Allen alleges was unnecessary.

The plaintiff is seeking millions in medical bills, projected lost lifetime earnings, loss of Barnes’ affection and motherly love and millions more in punitive damages.

But the defense says Weinberger acted appropriately.

Weinberger defense attorney James Hough called Chicago oncologist Lawrence Feldman, who testified that by the time Weinberger treated Barnes late in 2001, even if he had detected her cancer, Barnes probably would have died anyway.

The trial concludes Thursday with closing arguments.

The Northwest Indiana Post-Tribune contributed to this report, via the Sun-Times Media Wire

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