Originally published June 7, 2013
Tampa, Florida -- $500 Billion! That's the cost of unnecessary medical tests ordered by physicians.
Doctors admit they often order the tests to protect themselves from medical malpractice.So it outrages them to learn a Florida physician has admitted to lying under oath when used as an expert witness.
The physician was ordered to appear in front of the board of medicine to explain why he lied. The doctors on the board said his lying was an egregious act that cannot be tolerated by a physician, let alone an expert witness.
However, Dr. Richard Dellerson told the board it wasn't a big deal and he didn't really mean to lie.
"There was no intent to deceive anybody,"Dellerson told the medical board.
That's what the South Florida physician told the board of medicine, but Dellerson who has been an expert witness as an emergency room doctor in 300 medical malpractice cases didn't convince his peers.
Board member Dr. Fred Bearison cut to the chase saying, "And I think everybody will agree the fact this doctor lied under oath."
Dellerson admitted he signed an affidavit swearing he was board certified when that was not true and that prompted board member Dr. James Orr to remark, "So if someone doesn't tell the truth about their qualifications some must wonder if there is any truth in the testimony."
But Dellerson, who makes a living as an expert witness, blamed the attorneys he was working for. He said they inserted "board certified" and he didn't read the affidavit before signing it.
When we told Dellerson after the hearing that there seems to be a pattern of mistakes, he told us, "There is a pattern of carelessness on my part."
That carelessness includes: claiming he went to Johns Hopkins Medical School when he didn't, claiming to be a member of the Florida Medical Association when he is not, and claiming to be a member of the American Medical Association when he is not.
As we continued to question Dellerson he replied, "We can go into this nitpicking stuff."
We countered by telling the doctor, "Saying you're a member of the AMA when you're not is not nitpicking!" To which he replied, "I wasn't saying that at one time I was. You're getting rather confrontational."
Not half as confrontational as Dr. Scott Plantz who told us, "Here's a physician who got away with it falsifying his credentials."
Plantz, who is a defendant in a malpractice case where Dellerson is testifying against him, discovered many of the lies.
Plantz pointed out, "He's testified in malpractice cases saying he is clinically active, when he last saw a patient in 2001. He lied about it for all those years and got away with it because nobody looked it up -- nobody checked.
But Dellerson, who makes a living as an expert witness, said he can be trusted.
When we told Dellerson one of the doctos on the board said if you lied once no one can believe you, he replied, "It's not a question of lying. Its oversight. There's intentional lies and there's not paying attention, carelessness."
While the staff of the board of medicine recommended a slap on the wrist and wanted to put Dellerson on probation, the board rejected that and revoked his license to practice medicine and testify as an expert witness in the state of Florida -- forever.
He has 30 days to appeal.