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Finding medical experts to testify against fellow medical care providers in malpractice cases is never easy. Just how vindictive the defendants can be is documented in this item in The Advocate.

Doctor wins renewed order in case

A Baton Rouge federal judge has issued a temporary restraining order against a national medical association, protecting a prominent local neurosurgeon who claims he is the victim of a professional smear campaign.

U.S. District Judge Ralph Tyson this week renewed an order barring the American Association of Neurological Surgeons from sanctioning Baton Rouge neurosurgeon Anthony S. Ioppolo.

Ioppolo claims Christopher Rumana and Mark Cuffe of the Tallahassee Neurological Clinic are slandering him because he testified as an expert witness against them in a $40 million malpractice lawsuit they settled for an undisclosed amount during a 2003 jury trial.

The case involved the treatment of a 10-year-old boy injured when his bicycle was struck by a truck in December 1996 in Tallahassee, Fla.

Shortly after the trial, Rumana and Cuffe filed a complaint about Ioppola’s testimony with the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, court papers show. The organization now wants to suspend Ioppolo’s membership for two years.

In December 2004, its professional conduct committee issued a report concluding Ioppolo “demonstrated a lack of adequate subject matter knowledge and acted as an advocate for the plaintiff and the plaintiff attorney rather than as an unbiased witness. In doing so, he violated the AANS’ Expert Witness Guidelines.”

Ioppolo alleges the two Florida doctors have disbursed that internal report throughout Baton Rouge to hospitals, colleagues and the Louisiana Workers Compensation Corporation, where Ioppolo is the medical director. In March 2005, the pair also filed a formal charge against Ioppolo with the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners.

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