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February 17, 2005

Silicosis doctors testify

As we reported Feb. 2, the problem of "double-dipping"--doctors claiming silicosis (and only silicosis) caused injuries for which they previously diagnosed asbestosis has been endemic. Much was uncovered during an October 2004 deposition of Dr. George Martindale, a radiologist who withdrew his diagnoses for over 3000 patients in response to questioning; Martindale had been paid $35 an X-ray reading. Several doctors have followed suit. U.S. District Judge Janis Graham Jack ordered hearngs to determine whether false diagnoses had been used in the mass silicosis case before her in Texas. Dr. Barry Levy testified yesterday "he diagnosed more than 800 patients during a 72-hour period and that it was common for him to spend no more than a few minutes reviewing X-rays and writing a report for each patient." (Neal Falgoust, "Defense goes after doctors", Corpus Christi Caller-Times, Feb. 17; Neal Falgoust, "Doctors headed to court", Corpus Christi Caller-Times, Feb. 16; Lynn Brezosky, "Doctors ordered to back up thousands of diagnoses", AP, Feb. 16). More coverage: Feb. 27.

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