Posted on Jan 13, 2007
Doctor drops license to avoid discipline
By Phil Galewitz
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Saturday, January 13, 2007
A Delray Beach doctor who was the center of the largest medical malpractice verdict in Palm Beach County history has agreed to give up his medical license after the state accused him of prescribing controlled substances while his license was on inactive status.
The state Board of Medicine is expected to accept the deal with Dr. Attila Eagleman when it convenes in Orlando on Feb. 2.
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A Palm Beach County Circuit Court jury in February 2004 ordered Eagleman and Bethesda Memorial Hospital to pay $63 million in damages for causing a baby boy to be born with severe brain damage in 1997.
Eagleman was the obstetrician of Jennifer Korzeniowski and delivered her son, Luke, at Bethesda Memorial.
Labor was induced by Eagleman, who was concerned that the baby would be too large for normal delivery.
Luke actually weighed a normal 6 pounds at birth and spent nearly three weeks in neonatal intensive care after complications during delivery that involved forceps.
Three months after the verdict, Bethesda settled its part of the case for $20 million. But the doctor has been in litigation with his own medical malpractice insurer over paying his part of the judgement. Eagleman had only $250,000 malpractice coverage.
Luke Korzeniowski has undergone 14 operations on his brain and spine. Due to severe brain damage, he requires round-the-clock care.
Eagleman was still working as a gynecologist at Bethesda at the time of the verdict.
According to state medical board records, Eagleman could not attend the trial because he was acting "overly anxious and aggressive" because of steroids he was taking for a medical condition.
Bethesda's physician advisory committee referred Eagleman to the state's impaired practitioners program because of his "aberrant and inappropriate" behavior during trial.
Eagleman rejected the program's recommendation that he subject himself to random drug and psychological testing.
Instead, Eagleman decided to put his medical license on inactive status, which occurred in 2005.
In November 2006, the state received a complaint that Eagleman had prescribed a controlled substance. In lieu of more discipline, the doctor opted to give up his license.
Neither Eagleman nor Bethesda returned calls seeking comment.