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Columbus, Ohio, Doctor in Multiple Medical Malpractice Cases

July 18, 2012 | 3 min read

A Columbus, Ohio, podiatrist has been hit with multiple medical malpractice lawsuits and one wrongful death suit after several patients complained of complications. According to The Columbus Dispatch, Dr. Leonard Janis currently has nine active lawsuits against him and resigned his privileges from several hospitals and medical centers throughout the city in February.

According to Janis’ website, he is residency trained and Board Certified in foot and ankle surgery by the American Board of Podiatric Surgery, and he specializes in total ankle replacement, ankle stabilization, ankle fusion and ankle fractures.

Several of the patients who filed the lawsuits say they experienced extremely serious issues after going under the knife in Janis’ care. Darla Morris told the Columbus Dispatch that after breaking her ankle in 2005, she underwent four surgeries to fix the issue. However, after all of them failed, Morris had to have a below-the-knee amputation performed.

According to the source, five of the lawsuits name the Grant Medical Center and its parent company OhioHealth, which is where Janis performed surgeries from 1979 until his resignation in February.

A spokesman for the hospital, Mark Hopkins, has not come forward with information regarding why Janis resigned in the spring; however, he told the Dispatch that he believes the hospital will not be found guilty for any of the counts filed.

“OhioHealth has rigorous standards in place for credentialing of physicians at all our facilities. We are confident that we have done nothing wrong as it pertains to these lawsuits and plan to defend our process against these allegations,” he said.

One of the lawsuits filed against Janis involves a woman who suffered extreme frostbite after the doctor allegedly failed to properly place a Polar Pack in preparation for her recovery. According to the lawsuit, Tammy McCabe underwent an ankle surgery in 2000 performed by Janis. After her surgery, Janis recommended McCabe apply a Polar Pack, or ice pack, to help reduce inflammation and swelling at the location.

However, a few days later, McCabe said she experienced extreme pain and went back to Janis for a follow-up appointment. The lawsuit states that her foot was “blanched, discolored, and cold.” Janis sent McCabe to the Grant Medical Center’s emergency room, where she was treated and later saw a different specialist, Dr. Anthony G. Polito, who testified that McCabe’s frostbite may have been due to Janis failing to properly take initial safety precautions for her treatment. However, despite Polito testifying in court, McCabe lost the case.

The recent cases are not the first time Janis has been in the media for malpractice issues. According to the Dispatch, the doctor was a defendant in 12 additional medical malpractice cases dating to as early as 1991. Five of the suits were settled out of court, four, like McCabe’s, were dismissed and three were ruled in favor of Janis.

A wrongful death lawsuit was filed against Janis after a 39-year-old man was found unresponsive in his recovery room nearly eight hours after Janis performed an ankle surgery on him. According to the Dispatch, the suit alleges that the man’s cause of death was “respiratory suppression” and that the man was oversedated. However, despite the claims, the autopsy report concluded that the man’s death was linked to heart disease.

While it is not clear what the results of the current lawsuits will be, Janis will also be reviewed by the State Medical Board.