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Doctors behaving badly

A much-sued former surgeon has lost his bid for bankruptcy protection because a judge found he lied to hide his assets.

In an eight-month stint at a hospital in suburban Charleston, W.Va., osteopathic spine surgeon John A. King managed to become the target of more than 120 malpractice lawsuits.  In a later practice in his native Alabama, King was sued by two other patients.

King sought to block the legal claims with a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, but last week a judge denied bankruptcy protection.  According to The Birmingham News, the judge said he did not believe much of what King had to say about his finances.  King apparently stashed money in various trusts and claimed to be living off his mother’s pension.  “It’s going to create massive turmoil,” King said about his exposure for millions in malpractice claims.

Others are hoping for a piece of King’s elusive assets.  The former doctor faces a $1 million demand from the IRS.  The hospital where King practiced in West Virginia has paid about $100 million to settle claims from King’s patients.

Meanwhile, The Virginian-Pilot takes a look at alleged lapses in Virginia’s doctor disciplinary system, focusing on a Virginia Beach rheumatologist who avoided regulatory scrutiny for years despite concerns among patients’ families and other professionals.

By Peter Vieth

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