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Medical Justice provides free consultations to doctors facing medico-legal obstacles. We have solutions for doctor-patient conflicts, unwarranted demands for refunds, online defamation (patient review mischief), meritless litigation, and a gazillion other issues. We also provide counsel specific to COVID-19. If you are navigating a medico-legal obstacle, visit our booking page to schedule a free consultation – or use the tool shared below.

"Can Medical Justice solve my problem?" Click here to review recent consultations...

We’ve been protecting doctors from medico-legal threats since 2001. We’ve seen it all. Here’s a sample of typical recent consultation discussions…

  • Former employee stole patient list. Now a competitor…
  • Patient suing doctor in small claims court…
  • Just received board complaint…
  • Allegations of sexual harassment by employee…
  • Patient filed police complaint doctor inappropriately touched her…
  • DEA showed up to my office…
  • Patient “extorting” me. “Pay me or I’ll slam you online.”
  • My carrier wants me to settle. My case is fully defensible…
  • My patient is demanding an unwarranted refund…
  • How do I safely terminate doctor-patient relationship?
  • How to avoid reporting to Data Bank…
  • I want my day in court. But don’t want to risk my nest egg…
  • Hospital wants to fire me…
  • Sham peer review inappropriately limiting privileges…
  • Can I safely use stem cells in my practice?
  • Patient’s results are not what was expected…
  • Just received request for medical records from an attorney…
  • Just received notice of intent to sue…
  • Just received summons for meritless case…
  • Safely responding to negative online reviews…

We challenge you to supply us with a medico-legal obstacle we haven’t seen before. Know you are in good hands. Schedule your consultation below – or click here to visit our booking page.

 

We often advise doctors against suing patients for defamation – especially if the defamatory content originates online. Why? It’s hard to win a defamation case. It takes a long time. It’s expensive. And frequently the publicity of the lawsuit brings even worse attention to the business. You must also prove the review has damaged your business. Procuring this evidence is difficult and often not possible. 

A plastic surgeon in Canada broke the mold. He sued his patient for defamation. And won. How’d he do it? Let’s meet our cast.  

Dr. Brian Peterson is a plastic surgeon practicing in Canada – Kelowna, British Columbia, specifically. Rosa Deck, his former patient and the author of the defamatory reviews, is an influential blogger. Dr. Stan Valnicek is Dr. Peterson’s colleague and fellow plastic surgeon. They practice at the same location.  

Now that we know the players, here’s the story… 

Dr. Peterson performed Deck’s breast augmentation in November 2015. A few days passed. Then Deck bombarded the practice with phone calls, text messages, and photographs of her breasts.  Her left breast was bruised and higher than her right. She was unhappy with the surgery’s outcome.  

Dr. Peterson reminded his patient that the bruising was to be expected and that the implant (in her left breast) would drop in time. The surgeon produced evidence the patient was informed of and aware of the risks before the surgery was performed. This documentation would prove pivotal to his defense when Deck later sued Dr. Peterson. We’ll get to that shortly.  

Their conversation seemed to satisfy Deck – until she called the practice again in December and the dispute escalated. Dr. Peterson told Deck that in the event her breasts were not symmetrical by March, he would perform a revision at no cost. He supplemented his olive branch by introducing Deck to a colleague (a fellow plastic surgeon) who practiced at the same office – Dr. Stan Valnicek. In the event the patient did not want to see Dr. Peterson, Dr. Valnicek would perform the revision.  

As luck would have it, a young attorney recently asked if it was wise for a doctor to direct a difficult patient to a colleague. The young attorney was under the impression this was a bad idea. I counseled the opposite, provided the doctor’s colleague has the right temperament and the patient is not litigious. Sometimes the original doctor and patient don’t have compatible personalities. Introducing the patient to a colleague can sometimes de-escalate the impending conflict.  

We return to our colleagues in Canada: March arrived. The patient’s implants had not settled to her satisfaction. She underwent a second surgery – performed by Dr. Vanicek, not Dr. Peterson, per the patient’s request. This revision cost the patient nothing. Deck departed. Then came the reviews. Three years later. You read that right.  

Deck published the first of her reviews in 2018 and several more throughout 2019. By way of reminder, the first surgery took place in late 2015. In her reviews, Deck claimed the second free procedure was necessary to correct mistakes made by Dr. Peterson during the first procedure. The patient also claimed Dr. Peterson communicated poorly and rushed her preliminary consultations. Her reviews alleged his rushed demeanor contributed to her bad outcome.  

Dr. Peterson sued the patient. And prevailed. The court ordered Deck to pay Dr. Peterson $30,000. And that’s not all. The judge also ordered the reviews removed and forbade Deck from reposting them on other outlets.  

Many patients don’t realize how difficult it is to completely remove review content after it is posted. We often tell clients only two entities can remove a review: The website hosting the content and the author of the review itself. Deck’s reviews are long gone. We wager the court order greased the wheels.  

So, that’s the story. The surgeon won. The big question: How’d he do it? The proof is in Dr. Peterson’s bullet-proof documentation. Detailed documentation is always beneficial, but especially so when the patient’s account is at odds with the doctor’s. Keep friends close, enemies closer. 

Supreme Court Justice Gary P. Weatherill found no proof Dr. Peterson made any of the mistakes alleged in the reviews. 

“There is no convincing evidence that the plaintiff either made a surgical error or other mistake, or that his care or operation regarding the defendant fell below the standard of care of plastic surgeons.” 

The patient argued her breasts were asymmetrical because Dr. Peterson used implants of different sizes. What the reviews failed to mention was that Dr. Peterson recommended the patient receive implants of different sizes to compensate for the patient’s “pectus excavatum”, a condition where the front of the patient’s chest is concave instead of convex. Deck accepted the surgeon’s proposal and consented to the procedure as he planned it.  

There was no evidence the size of either implant contributed to the asymmetry of the patient’s breasts.  

Dr. Peterson’s success is a flower in a desert. Differences between American and Canadian law played a role in the outcome. It is unlikely a surgeon practicing in the United States could reproduce his success under similar circumstances.  

But in this case, documentation saved the day. Had the practice not kept detailed notes specific to the surgeon’s recommendations and the patient’s consent, this case could have ended differently. The fact the surgeon went out of his way to accommodate the patient’s initial negative reaction also helped his case. He followed the standard of care and did what was reasonable to make his former patient happy. When the patient’s reviews stated otherwise, the doctor’s documentation proved her statements demonstrably false.  

What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.

Medical Justice provides free consultations to doctors facing medico-legal obstacles. We have solutions for doctor-patient conflicts, unwarranted demands for refunds, online defamation (patient review mischief), meritless litigation, and a gazillion other issues. We also provide counsel specific to COVID-19. If you are navigating a medico-legal obstacle, visit our booking page to schedule a free consultation – or use the tool shared below.

I am a surgeon in private practice and, frankly, don't know how I ever did without Dr. Jeff Segal and the absolutely outstanding team at Medical Justice. This team has had my back from the day I signed on about one year ago with extraordinarily prompt, clever, and reasonable advice always delivered with sincere compassion.Private practice can be isolating and, when it comes to patient interactions, the stakes are always high. As a MD/JD, Dr. Segal draws from a wealth of experience to validate and contextualize my concerns while plotting a smooth and effective course to resolution. Most importantly, Medical Justice provides the resources and support to leave me better positioned for the future.I am endlessly grateful to have access to Dr. Segal and Medical Justice as a trusted sounding board and resource. Five stars doesn't seem like enough!
A M.
Medical Justice is always responsive and gets to solutions. We especially appreciate Josh P and his relentless drive to help us satisfy our customers. Their knowledge of the digital landscape brings us closer to prospective patients.
What's N.
Jeff and his colleague Josh were both very prompt and knowledgeable in helping me resolve an issue with Instagram. Recommended to any healthcare provider needing help online with social media.
Spencer H.
Dr. Jeffrey Segal and Medical Justice are amazing! They helped me deal with a frivolous and false board complaint to my license quickly and professionally. I was impressed with the amount of attention and copious amounts of time they committed to resolving my case. Dr. Segal also helped greatly in advising me how to protect my practice and avoid similar issues moving forward. I'm fortunate to have found their services! While I hope to not have to deal with more frivolous complaints in the future, I feel better knowing that Dr Segal and Medical Justice are there to help me navigate through what may come.
Lisa W.
Dr. Jeff Segal is great at what he does! As a physician and lawyer he understands clearly the difficulty of practicing in this day and age. Having both backgrounds is his biggest strength in the medico-legal arena. He gives sound logical advice and is very responsive. I am glad that I trusted him with my issue which he solved by doing background research into the issue from other specialists. He approached the problem like a physician in a very methodical and detail -oriented way. I'm so happy to have found him! I highly recommend!!!
Nicole B
Medical Justice is the GO TOO for any medical provider.
Curt L.
Medical Justice exceeded my expectations on delivery of professional services. Top notch professionals, only the Best, and advisors on every medico-legal area of health care, especially Dentistry, with the Great, Vince Monticello, DDS, MBA, JD, on-board. By far a great investment. I enjoy doing business with Jeff and his Outstanding Team!
Rob E.
I’ve now been a subscriber and client of medical justice for over a year. Dr. and attorney Jeff Segal has been helpful on several occasions. He has guided me through both potential patient issues as well as recent HR pandemic concerns. He along with the Medical Justice team have given me reassuring legal advice that allows me to proceed with confidence through these difficult times. This is one of my best investments in business and personally.
Walter T.
I cannot give enough thanks for Medical Justice’s existence! It is a company that fills such a highly needed niche’ in medicine – especially aesthetic medicine. And it was founded and continues to be led by a visionary, Dr. Jeff Segal. I admire his drive and envy his intelligence. He first completes a rigorous Neurosurgery Residency. That by itself deserves tremendous kudos from anyone in the medical universe. Yet, he eventually goes back to obtain his JD. Yet what he has done in blending those two degrees into an amazing entity, Medical Justice, is nothing short of phenomenal.I was an early adopter of Medical Justice, and all that it provided for me as a surgeon and a business owner, as I am in my 12th year (this year being 2021) of being a member of Medical Justice. Throughout those twelve years, I have leaned on their team in helping maintain a fair and hard-earned online reputation when unfairly attacked. Also, Dr. Segal has always been personally involved with assisting me in resolving conflicts with difficult and unreasonable patients. He has always been only a phone call away, and prompt with his response.What I have especially appreciated is in my discussions resolving these occasional issues with patients over many years, Jeff seems to possess a third therapist certification as a compassionate, empathetic peer that understands my hurt and frustration. He has a way through the phone to put his arm around me, making me feel he sympathizes with my hurt and frustration, and together we will get through whatever issue, and the sun will rise in the morning. He then produces what he promises, as he has threaded the needle to resolution more than once for me. He feels like the big brother I never had that is there for you with honest, realistic guidance to amicable conclusions, when called upon.I just hope I retire before him. I can’t image practicing my specialty without someone like him, as well as his amazing team that he has gathered, that has and continues to have my back. - Dr. Burke Robinson, Robinson Facial Plastic Surgery
Burke R.
Jeff Segal, MD, JD was a tremendous help to me when battling a frivolous and retaliatory complaint to the State Medical Board. Jeff and the Medical Justice team fought immediately and tirelessly to clear this absurd complaint. It was validating, vindicating, and made me have hope again to practice medicine. It renewed my faith in the justice system and made it a pleasure to practice medicine again. Skillful. No - Masterful. There is really nothing that can replace the knowledge of an MD/JD or DO/JD to defend physicians. They were absolutely in my corner. Additionally, Medical Justice found negative reviews that I was not aware of and helped me address those concerns. Well worth every penny!
Terri B.
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"Can Medical Justice solve my problem?" Click here to review recent consultations...

We’ve been protecting doctors from medico-legal threats since 2001. We’ve seen it all. Here’s a sample of typical recent consultation discussions…

  • Former employee stole patient list. Now a competitor…
  • Patient suing doctor in small claims court…
  • Just received board complaint…
  • Allegations of sexual harassment by employee…
  • Patient filed police complaint doctor inappropriately touched her…
  • DEA showed up to my office…
  • Patient “extorting” me. “Pay me or I’ll slam you online.”
  • My carrier wants me to settle. My case is fully defensible…
  • My patient is demanding an unwarranted refund…
  • How do I safely terminate doctor-patient relationship?
  • How to avoid reporting to Data Bank…
  • I want my day in court. But don’t want to risk my nest egg…
  • Hospital wants to fire me…
  • Sham peer review inappropriately limiting privileges…
  • Can I safely use stem cells in my practice?
  • Patient’s results are not what was expected…
  • Just received request for medical records from an attorney…
  • Just received notice of intent to sue…
  • Just received summons for meritless case…
  • Safely responding to negative online reviews…

We challenge you to supply us with a medico-legal obstacle we haven’t seen before. Know you are in good hands. Schedule your consultation below – or click here to visit our booking page.

 

Jeffrey Segal, MD, JD

Chief Executive Officer and Founder

Dr. Jeffrey Segal, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Medical Justice, is a board-certified neurosurgeon. Dr. Segal is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons; the American College of Legal Medicine; and the American Association of Neurological Surgeons. He is also a member of the North American Spine Society. In the process of conceiving, funding, developing, and growing Medical Justice, Dr. Segal has established himself as one of the country’s leading authorities on medical malpractice issues, counterclaims, and internet-based assaults on reputation.

Dr. Segal was a practicing neurosurgeon for approximately ten years, during which time he also played an active role as a participant on various state-sanctioned medical review panels designed to decrease the incidence of meritless medical malpractice cases.

Dr. Segal holds a M.D. from Baylor College of Medicine, where he also completed a neurosurgical residency. Dr. Segal served as a Spinal Surgery Fellow at The University of South Florida Medical School. He is a member of Phi Beta Kappa as well as the AOA Medical Honor Society. Dr. Segal received his B.A. from the University of Texas and graduated with a J.D. from Concord Law School with highest honors.

In 2000, he co-founded and served as CEO of DarPharma, Inc, a biotechnology company in Chapel Hill, NC, focused on the discovery and development of first-of-class pharmaceuticals for neuropsychiatric disorders.

Dr. Segal is also a partner at Byrd Adatto, a national business and health care law firm. Byrd Adatto was selected as a Best Law Firm in the 2021 edition of the “Best Law Firms” list by U.S. News – Best Lawyers. With over 50 combined years of experience in serving doctors, dentists, and other providers, Byrd Adatto has a national pedigree to address most legal issues that arise in the business and practice of medicine.