Hospital and newspapers’

reputations on the line in lawsuit

claiming ‘negligent credentialing’

Claim alleges incompetent doctor performed unauthorized and unnecessary surgery



About this series:

The Akiva Abraham stories the papers suppressed

Over the past eight years, newspapers in New York's Capital Region have run a dozen stories about disgraced former gynecologist and now state prisoner Aliva Abraham.
But there were other stories about him that those papers completely ignored.  In each case, the story was about a lawsuit, a lawsuit that names as a defendant a hospital that is a big advertiser.
Below is the first of those exclusive stories.  The others are at the following links:

FORMER DOCTOR'S LOSING LAWSUIT  Abraham sues after he was fired for misconduct

RED FLAGS MISSED  How evidence that Abraham was unfit was ignored

EDITORIAL:  Hospitals' and media's lack of scrutiny is a public threat


By David Baker

In August 2002, Samaritan Hospital in Troy received a request to renew admitting privileges for Akiva Abraham, a gynecologist with a private practice in Clifton Park.  According to both state law and the hospital’s own bylaws, this re-credentialing process required the hospital to make various inquires to confirm that Abraham was medically qualified and morally fit to practice medicine.  The process should have included checking the National Practitioner Databank for any record of malpractice lawsuits and reviewing and checking extensive information on past employment the doctor was required to provide on an application form.

Abraham’s 2002 application, like an initial one in 1998 and two further renewals in between, was approved, apparently without the hospital’s scrutiny revealing that Abraham had:

* been reprimanded and placed on probation for six months during his four-year residency at Albany Medical Center Hospital for writing an admission and medical history note indicating that that he had examined a patient when he had not seen the patient;

* been fired from a private medical practice in Troy;

* been fired from St. Mary’s Hospital in Troy for allegedly making a false entry in a medical chart;

* been named in three separate medical malpractice lawsuits – in each of which Samaritan Hospital was a co-defendant;

* allowed his malpractice insurance coverage to lapse for several months while practicing at Samaritan Hospital, despite a requirement that the hospital be given 30 days’ advance notice of any lapse of coverage;

* was under investigation by the state Office of Professional Medical Conduct, during which the office served a subpoena on Samaritan Hospital for copies of the medical records of two patients, both of whom had been treated by Abraham.

Nineteen months after his 2002 reappointment, Abraham scheduled himself to perform a biopsy at Samaritan Hospital on a then-35-year-old patient, Susan Stalker.  The procedure was to determine if a lump in Stalker’s left breast was cancerous.