Transcript - Desnick Class Action - Channel 2 News - September 16, 1996

Desnick Class Action
Channel 2 News
September 16, 1996
5:00 PM

Lester Holt: The controversial eye doctor faces new legal problems today. Dr. James Desnick once made millions of dollars a year running a clinic that specialized in cataract surgery is now charged in a class action lawsuit with systematically defrauding both his patients and the government. Channel 2's Pam Zeckman first broke the story on Desnick's questionable practices and is live in the news room now with the latest development, Pam.

Pam Zeckman: Lester, there have been hundreds of malpractice suits filed against Dr. Desnick, many of them settled for large amounts. Now a Chicago attorney has filed a lawsuit on behalf of all the additional patients who may have suffered from unnecessary surgery allegedly done at Desnick's clinic.

The lawsuit charges that Dr. James Desnick lured patients into his northwest side clinic with deceptive ads and false claims about the superior care available there. Patients like Percy Long, he went to get his prescription changed, but wound up having cataract surgery on both eyes after meeting with Dr. Desnick.

Percy Long (client of Kenneth B. Moll & Associates, Ltd): All of my life two things that we learn to trust in is doctors and ministers. And I really trusted Dr. Desnick and he let me down, you know, he did me wrong, that's all I have to say.

Pam Zeckman: Like others, Long's attorney says he didn't need the cataract surgery, but did need surgery to correct the damage done by the unnecessary operations and he's still having eye problems.

Percy Long: I would put it on a scale, on one to ten, before I went to see Dr. Desnick I was seeing something like about a seven, after I seen Dr. Desnick it was like a zero.

Pam Zeckman: In a stunning new piece of information the lawsuit offers an explanation of Desnick's phenomenal financial success. In one year Desnick's clinic made twenty-one million dollars. The suit alleges that Desnick's doctors had monthly quotas to fill, four hundred cataract surgeries, two hundred laser procedures and collected a one hundred dollars incentive fee for every cataract surgery they scheduled or performed.

Kenneth Moll: He's saying, "I don't care if the patient needs surgery or not, we need to have four hundred surgical procedures a month."

Pam Zeckman: Desnick was not available for a comment, but one of his attorneys told me Desnick denies all of the charges. A government investigation of possible Medicare fraud at Desnick's clinic is still underway. Back to you.

Lester Holt: Alright, thank you Pam.