Former patient of Dr. Durrani: "I want to bring this man to justice"

Former patient of Dr. Durrani: "I want to bring this man to justice"
Published: Dec. 17, 2015 at 4:12 AM EST
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FOX19 - Trials will soon begin in the massive lawsuit against a spinal surgeon accused of convincing patients to undergo unnecessary surgeries that were damaging to the patient's health.

Dr. Abubakar Atiq Durrani, 44, of Mason was arrested by federal and state healthcare fraud investigators.

According to court documents, federal indictments brought against him pertaining to his care and treatment of patients include the following actions:

  1. Giving false statements in regards to healthcare matters
  2. Healthcare fraud.
  3. Unlawful distribution of a controlled substance.

Jacob Cotter is one of Dr. Durrani's former patients. On Wednesday, he spoke exclusively with FOX 19 about what he wants to see happen in this case.

Jacob Cotter was born with a congenital birth defect in his spine. When he was 11 years old, his parents took him to Children's Hospital where they met with Dr. Durrani to discuss surgery options. But according to Jacob's mother, that surgery resulted in a life-threatening deformity in her son's skeletal structure.

Cotter, now 19-years-old, will never get to live a day in the life of a normal teenager. "No person should have to live through what I have had to live through," Jacob Cotter told us.

Jacob says the pain and suffering he endures on a daily basis is the direct result of a botched spinal surgery at the hands of Dr. Durrani at Children's Hospital.

"In September 2008, I was pretty much bullied into believing that my son needed a surgery in his spinal region," said Jacob's mother, Melissa Cotter. The federal complaint alleges that Durrani convinced patients like Jacob to undergo medically unnecessary spinal surgeries then billed private and public healthcare benefit programs for the fraudulent services.

Melissa Cotter says the surgery has only worsened her son's condition.

"He has a screw loose in the C-2 level of his spine that is laying at a 45 degree angle in our son's spinal canal," Melissa explained. "It's a catastrophic failure. The screw could rupture his spinal canal at any time, which is ultimately a death sentence."

"We thought Durrani was going to be the answer to our prayers for our son but unfortunately, as time went on, we learned a bitter hard truth about a man who has been deceptive in a short period of time and in our case, is going to cost our son his life."

Durrani now faces a 36-count federal indictment and federal healthcare fraud charges. In December 2013, following his arraignment, Durrani fled to Pakistan where it's believed he is still performing surgeries.

"What he did to me is unfixable," Jacob Cotter said. "I've come to understand and accept that but I can't accept that he's going to do this to other kids. And not only kids, but adults too. It breaks my heart into a million pieces."

Jacobs's trial is set to begin May 2nd of 2016. Jacob says what he hopes to get from this trial is much more than a settlement.

"I don't care about the money or the trial, that's secondary to me, what I want to do is bring this man to justice because what he did not only to me, but to the people I've met and talked to and the people who are suffering over in Pakistan, I want justice."

Durrani was indicted under a federal judge's court in 2013 and had his passport revoked but somehow still managed to flee the country.

"There is no extradition treaty with Pakistan," Melissa Cotter explained. "There's no negotiating with the Pakistani government to get Durrani brought back to the United States. We're fighting a ghost so the only recourse we have is to fight Children's Hospital."

According to the federal indictment, Durrani performed surgery at West Chester Hospital UC Health, Children's Hospital, Good Samaritan, Christ and Deaconess between 2007 and 2013.

The judge has ordered that these cases will be consolidated into a group trial with 14 Children's Hospital plaintiffs.  Will be a group trial with14 children's hospital plaintiffs. The trials will begin in February of 2016.

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