Rome, works without a degree and leaves the patient disabled. False Doctor worked at San Giacomo for 15 years

Fifteen years spent in the operating room, even becoming the head of the Orthopedics team at the San Giacomo hospital. Too bad that the doctor in question was, in reality, an impostor: he had never earned a degree in medicine and for more than a decade had managed to deceive everyone. Until the day of the disaster: After a relatively simple, but grossly incorrectly performed surgery, a patient was left paralyzed in one hand. And so the lawsuit for compensation and the investigation carried out by the insurance company started. The unthinkable emerged: RI denounced himself to the Carabinieri, saying that he did not have a degree and, therefore, that he had never been enrolled in the register. In the meantime, the patient was compensated by the ASL Roma 1. But in recent days the final balance was asked to the fake doctor, many years after the story: the Court of Auditors ordered that he pay the deceived healthcare company 128 thousand euros.

The cause

The false doctor was unmasked after a disastrous surgery to cure a fracture: the patient had found himself with “total functional impotence of his right hand”, reads the sentence. During the civil case, the technical consultant had noted “an insufficient or erroneous theoretical and practical preparation in dealing with the surgery”, highlighting that there had been “an unexpected surgical access in the treatment of fractures of the proximal third of the shaft” . He then underlined that “there were also some doubts about the positioning of the plate and screws on the radius”. For this reason the “gross negligence” of the doctor was sentenced. Decision confirmed also in 2018, at the end of the appeal process. The company had been ordered to pay 128 thousand euros.

The complaint

During the trial, however, three years after the intervention, RI had first resigned and then self-reported to the Carabinieri. The consequence had been the forfeiture of insurance coverage for the health company and the hospital. The sentence states that “the macroscopic inexperience that characterized the work, due to the lack of the high professional qualification needed to practice the medical profession” emerged from the acts of the civil judgments. The fault of the false surgeon is considered clear: in an intentional way, he hid “for over 15 years his real qualification from the Company, colleagues and patients”, write the accounting judges. Every time he entered the operating room, he accepted the risk “that his abusive surgeries, which were performed in a particularly risky branch, could damage the health of patients.” A circumstance that, in the end, had occurred. The man acted with malice: according to the judges, he was “well aware that he did not possess the necessary qualifications (nor the competence) to carry out the delicate surgery”. To pocket the salary of a hospital doctor on a daily basis, serving in the Orthopedics and Traumatology ward, he put the lives of those who ended up in his operating room at risk for a very long time. The likelihood of accidents occurring, in fact, was very high, as highlighted in the sentence and as was also highlighted by the consultants in the civil case. The justifications of the man to avoid the sentence were useless, such as that of not having acted alone during the operation which went wrong. According to the magistrates, in fact, the other two members of the team have no responsibility: they were respectively the first and second aid and, “in addition to not having specific skills in orthopedic matters, they were not aware of the real professional qualifications” of the fake surgeon .

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