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Friends in high places

The saying goes that it's not what you know, but who you know. That goes for here in Ohio as well as across the country and around the world. Consider the case of an Oklahoma surgeon who was being investigated by state officials because after he performed surgeries, a disturbing number of his patients were left in dire straits: in constant pain, paralyzed -- or even dead.

For three years, the Oklahoma State Board of Medical Licensure had been investigating Dr. Steven Anagnost, trying to revoke his license. The inquiry was halted, however, after the Texas Gov. Rick Perry called Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin on Anagnost's behalf.

At the time of Perry's and Fallin's 2013 intervention in the investigation, Anagnost was the focus of dozens of medical malpractice lawsuits. He had reached settlements in several cases, but apparently had a number of claims still pending against him.

Anagnost had made a campaign donation to Perry several years earlier. Gov. Perry was at that time readying his 2016 presidential campaign, an effort he abandoned earlier this year.

So accoring to a media report, Perry made his call to Oklahoma and Gov. Fallin sent her general counsel to speak with members of the Oklahoma Board of Medical Licensure and Supervision. He told the folks that while he didn't want to interfere in their work, Oklahoma's governor didn't want to answer more calls from Texas's governor about the "travesty." She wanted to make the matter "go away," an Oklahoma TV station recently reported.

That state's medical board filed a complaint against the surgeon, accusing him of violations involving 23 patients. In some cases, his patients died or were left paralyzed by the surgery. In other failed operations, he implanted a spinal device he had been paid to publicize. He was also accused of charging patients for surgeries never performed.

Eventually, the doctor settled with the board while not acknowledging any wrongdoing. He still practices in Tulsa and says the interventions of two governors had nothing to do with the outcome of the investigation. Medical board members declined to speak about the case.

In fact, the doctor is now suing to have the agreement overturned, saying the board was biased.

A number of patients continue to pursue their medical malpractice claims against they surgeon they accuse of negligence. We cannot know who is right or wrong in these cases; that is for Oklahoma courts to decide.

Our job is here in Warren County and across Ohio, representing victims of doctor or hospital negligence. Please see our Dayton Hospital Negligence Lawyer page for information about how the law office of John D. Smith Co., L.P.A. can serve you.

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John D. Smith Co., L.P.A.
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Springboro, OH 45066

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