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Predator on the Reservation

Trigger warning: This article from the Wall Street Journal might make you sick to your stomach. It is truly nauseating. For 21 years the Indian Health Service let a pedophile pediatrician practice at various reservation healthcare facilities. Early on they knew they had a problem. The evidence mounted and they did nothing to protect these young patients.

It has long been said that the Indian Health Service is the employer of last resort for troubled doctors. This article is certainly consistent with that understanding. The impact of bad medical care is geometrically compounded by the poverty and isolation of most reservations. The deck is usually stacked against these children to begin with – the very last thing they need are pediatricians who seek to irreparably harm them.

The government provides healthcare to many Native Americans on reservations. This arises from our nation’s complex and very often troubling relationship with these citizens. It seems to me that if such a duty is imposed by law on the government, then it needs to provide care that is appropriate. Protecting patients from further harm, including predatory doctors, is axiomatic. The Indian Health Service has clearly failed in that regard, both in the instance addressed in this article as well as many others. Beyond that, the quality of care is often poor – far from what it should be. Health care providers are expected to provide care that is compliant with the “standard of care,” which is what a reasonably prudent provider would do under the same or similar circumstances. It seems that the Indian Health Service is far from meeting these basic standards. That needs to change.

When the Indian Health Service’s poor care injures or kills a patient, there is a recourse under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). Medical malpractice cases are not easy and the FTCA adds a further level of complexity. We do FTCA medical malpractice cases all over the country. We can help.





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