Lisa Zenzen Baker, 1961-2003


Monday, July 16, 2012

Court date

                              Day of reckoning is near in
                              negligent-credentialing case

By David Baker
Posted Tuesday July 17, 2012 from Norwich, England

Six years after it was started, a lawsuit alleging that Samaritan Hospital in Troy was negligent when it granted privileges to a gynecologist who later lost his license is set to for trial at the end of this month.

The plaintiff, Susan Stalker of Waterford alleges that in 2004 Aliva Abraham performed an unnecessary procedure on her breast, removing a large amount of healthy tissue without her permission and without authorization from the hospital.  The suit also alleges that Samaritan Hospital repeatedly renewed his privileges when it knew or should have known that he was unfit to practice medicine.

In 2006, the state revoked Abraham's medical licence, citing 34 counts of misconduct.  In 2011 he filed for bankruptcy protection and is now in prison following his conviction of insurance fraud related to a fire that destroyed a nightclub building he owned in Colonie.  He apparently had no malpractice insurance at the time he performed the surgery on Stalker - even though maintaining malpractice coverage was a requirement of his hospital privileges.

The hospital has maintained that it carried out all the checks on Abraham required by law and its own rules and found no reason to deny him privileges.  Stalker's lawyers point out that by the time Abraham was last reappointed, Samaritan Hospital and Abraham were named as co-defendants in three separate medical malpractice lawsuits, and that the hospital had been served by the state with a subpoena demanding records of two patients, both of  whom had been treated by Abraham.

Both sides have appeals pending in the Appellate Division of state Supreme Court.  Stalker is appealing a ruling by Judge Stephen A. Ferradino that the hospital and its nursing staff are not responsible for the actions of an independent physician;  Samaritan is appealing Ferradino's ruling that there are questions as to whether the hospital was negligent in allowing Abraham to practice.

Despite its unusual allegations the Stalker case has never been mentioned by the Capital Region's newpapers, even as they repeatedly reported on Abraham's other problems. Rex Smith, the editor of the Albany Times Union has not responded to letters suggesting that the paper's silence on this and dozens of other lawsuits alleging malpractice is because the area's hospitals provide a significant stream of revenue to the papers for an almost continuous advertising campaign.

A detailed story about the case was posted earlier this year on the web page Capital District Health Claims. A lawsuit filed by Samaritan Hospital seeks an injunction and money for what it claims is damage to its reputation.
Read the exclusive story on the Stalker lawsuit HERE