Dr. Yasser Awaad, a doctor in Detroit, has been accused of falsely diagnosing hundreds of local children with epilepsy and making those false diagnoses for money.
Awaad currently has 267 lawsuits filed against him as a result of the alleged crime. Lawyers claim that Dr. Awaad forced hundreds of children to undergo unnecessary medical tests, including forcing them to stay awake all night. However, the suits allege the children never needed any of the tests they were forced to undergo.
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One of the patients who underwent the tests was Mariah Martinez, who was nine when she began seeing Dr. Awaad.
Mariah went to a doctor to address headaches she’d been having. The doctor had her take an electroencephalogram (EEG). Dr. Awaad then told her she had epilepsy, though Mariah had never had a seizure.
“I didn’t know what epilepsy was at that point,” Mariah told investigators.
“Being told you’re abnormal, or the tests were abnormal, means I’m not like everyone else, and at that age, you just want to fit in,” she continued.
Dr. Awaad prescribed drugs that made her drowsy and the headaches worse.
Four years later, Dr. Awaad left his practice and Mariah began seeing another doctor. She started seeing another doctor who told her she never had epilepsy.
“I lost, I feel like a piece of my childhood,” she said. “All the time I could have been learning to do things, playing with other kids, I could have friends, I could have joined a sport – you never know.”
Malpractice lawyer Brian McKeen, along with a team of attorneys, is suing Dr. Awaad and the hospital.
Every time Dr. Awaad ran an EEG he received a bonus, meaning he received a significant amount of money after performing the test on hundreds of children.
One of his colleagues reported him to hospital administrators for conducting unnecessary EEGs.
According to records, the state of Michigan has been investigating Dr. Awaad since 2010 for falsely diagnosing kids. However, he still holds a medical license.
In June, Mariah was awarded $3 million dollars for her case against Dr. Awaad. The second suit is still being tried in court.
When I’m not hanging out with my three-year-old and husband in Brooklyn, I’m busy writing stories for Mamas Uncut and managing PR + Marketing for Magnolia Bakery, based in New York City. On weekends, you can usually find me at a local park or playground pushing my daughter on the swings, “researching” the best almond croissants in Park Slope or launching into impromptu family dance parties at home, the sidewalk or, every once in awhile, a restaurant bathroom. I’m still trying to master the whole parenting thing, but I have learned that copious amounts of coffee, humor and humility are involved on a daily basis.
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