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Dr. Atiq Durrani
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Dr. Atiq Durrani: Patients line up to sue or support spine surgeon

Doctor faces federal fraud charges

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CINCINNATI - Patients of Dr. Atiq Durrani were lining up on both sides Friday – some to add their names to lawsuits and others to defend him.

Interest in this case has spiked since Durrani's arrest Thursday and release on his own recognizance.
    
More former patients are asking about joining lawsuits or getting their medical records.
   
Many current patients emailed me to defend him and his spine surgery practice.

Ringing phones kept Amy Plewke and Whitney Issenmann busy Friday at Eric Deters' law office.

More than 80 people inquired about possible legal action against Durrani.
    
Deters has already filed 160 civil suits against him.

"The common thread is that they had a surgery that involved the spine that was not necessary," Deters said.

At Lindhorst and Dreidame, Michael Lyon, Durrani's civil attorney, was getting four to five calls an hour from former patients saying they're outraged at the charges against the spine surgeon.

"They came to Dr. Durrani with serious and severe orthopedic issues, pain and disability, and as a result of Dr. Durrani's surgical intervention, they're much, much better off in their life," Lyon said.

Durrani faces federal criminal charges of suspected Medicare fraud and allegedly performing unnecessary surgeries.

After his arrest, federal agents seized records from his Centers for Advanced Spine Technologies in Evendale and Florence.

Many patients called 9 On Your Side Friday asking which files were taken and Lyon says only those involved in cases now before the courts.

"If your callers are not involved in the lawsuit, the records are safe. They're being taken care of and protected by Dr. Durrani," Lyon said.

Anyone needing copies of their records should make an appointment and then personally go to Durrani's office.

"The procedure is very simply," Lyon said. "They have a medical authorization they obviously have to sign to give permission to give the records to the patient.  They sign the medical authorization and they get the records."

Durrani's next appearance at U.S. District Court is a preliminary hearing on Aug. 19.
    
Federal prosecutors say they plan to present the case to a federal grand jury within 30 days.
 

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