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MI Medical Malpractice - Michigan Man Acting As Doctor Busted After 15 Years, Questioning the Preservation of Patient Safety

As the winter temperatures continue to drop, more Michigan residents are flooding doctors offices and examination rooms to try to prevent becoming sick. Although going to see a physician is common, any top personal injury lawyer would warn patients to expect the unexpected–accidents can happen at any time, in any place, even the doctor’s office.

These “accidents” generally refer to medical malpractice mistakes made by licensed physicians who provide sub-standard or negligent care to patients resulting in serious personal injury or death. While each medical malpractice case is tragic, victims bringing these personal injury claims to court expect to hold a licensed medical care provider responsible for injuries sustained. But what if the person believed to be a medical practitioner really has no medical background at all?

Even the best personal injury attorney would be shocked to learn that cases like this are all too common, and even have occurred in the state of Michigan. The most recent case involves William Hamman, 58, a man who was fired from his position at Beaumont hospital after staffers discovered that he was not a cardiologist, as he claimed. Instead, the impostor was an airplane pilot with no medical background at all.

Throughout his 15 year tenure, Hamman lined up millions of dollars in research funding and consulting fees while directing stimulated medical expenses and training hospital workers. Open about his aviation background, Hamman posed as a cardiologist who had great emergency situation skills that could prove beneficial in the air, as well as the emergency room. In fact, the American College of Cardiology even contracted Hamman to teach doctors how to work with others during medical emergencies by working with computerized models.

While Hamman fooled the nation’s best doctors for several years, a hospital staffer found it strange that he never treated a single patient or did not apply for physician admitting privileges. Following up on these suspicions, the hospital worker phoned the university where Hamman claimed to have received his medical degree. Soon, it was discovered that Hamman never attended medical school and was unqualified to work in the medical business, where he remained undetected for years. When confronted about his lies, Hamman resigned from his position, and is now involved with legal proceedings regarding the whether or not he actually provided medical consultation without a license.

While it is absolutely amazing that a man with no medical background was able to pose as a doctor for such a long time, it is fortunate that Hamman never treated a patient. However, there are some fake doctors in the United States that are not only working in a medical environment, but providing unfounded, uneducated, and potentially dangerous care to unsuspecting patients. Just this week, an out-of-state man pleaded guilty to 13 felony criminal charges for providing dangerous dietary supplements without a medical license. Another example included a doctor that was arrested for involvement in a Medicare-scheme where he paid non-medical professional to pose as doctors and see patients, while raking in the funds as if he was treating people himself.

These impostor doctors not only pose serious safety and health threats for patients in their care, it also violates the delicate balance of trust between a person and their doctor. It is the responsibility of medical institutions to always check the credentials of the people they hire to practice medicine. “We do have rules in place and hospitals and universities that say, ‘Always check credentials,’” explained Dr. Leonard Fleck, a medical ethicist at Michigan State University. “There is just no excuse for not checking credentials. It’s kind of a no-brainer.”

While any experienced Michigan injury attorney would agree with Dr. Fleck, the fact that numerous fake physicians slipped through seemingly well protected cracks shows that incidents like this do happen and patients should always be prepared. Sustaining injury in a medical accident is scary enough, let alone if the person who made the error is not actually a doctor. If this situation has happened to you or a loved one, it is important to seek the advice of an experienced personal injury law attorney immediately. Doing so quickly can provide the legal advice and legal representation needed to ensure a successful outcome to any personal injury claim.