In the midst of his appeal of a 211-game suspension arising from the alleged use of performance enhancing drugs, Alex Rodriguez just filed the anticipated malpractice suit against a Yankees’ team physician. Professional Liability Matters posted of the rumblings of a malpractice suit in August. Now, the other shoe dropped. Although the allegations are serious, many speculate that A-Rod’s real goal of this lawsuit is to distract from A-Rod’s steroid controversy and to deflect blame.
A-Rod’s suit, filed on October 4, names Yankees team doctor Christopher S. Ahmad, MD and New York Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center. A-Rod alleges that Dr. Ahmad did not properly diagnose his left hip injury during the 2012 playoffs. Allegedly, Dr. Ahmad performed and evaluated A-Rod’s MRI which revealed a superior labral tear at the left hip. However, A-Rod claims that Dr. Ahmad did not inform him of the tear and instead cleared him to play. Rodriguez alleges that this failure to detect the tear led to further surgeries.
Query whether this suit is part of an overall strategy employed by Rodriguez’s legal and public relations team to repair the slugger’s image. Some suggest that A-Rod relishes in the “gamesmanship and the attention that comes” with an offensive mindset on and off the field. But make no mistake, A-Rod’s allegations of malpractice are serious, even against the backdrop of his recent media circus. The lesson to the professional liability community is that plaintiffs file malpractice suits for any number of reasons and the risks are countless. Time will tell whether (a) Dr. Ahmad and his team met the applicable standard of care and (b) whether A-Rod has the resources, evidence, and time to clear his tarnished reputation.