WRTV Investigates


Retired police officer takes action against IU Health for altered medical record

Posted at 4:58 PM, Apr 25, 2019

INDIANAPOLIS — A retired Metro police officer is taking action against a health provider he says altered his medical records.

Santos Cortez was stunned when he learned notes about his care were allegedly changed to favor the hospital.

Cortez has been in a wheelchair since 2012. While on duty responding to a drunk driving incident, he was seriously injured and required weeks of medical attention.

In 2014, the retired Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officer sued IU Health over the care of his wounds.

In 2018, the case was settled.

Although, a third party company working on Cortez's worker's compensation claim found several original medical records.

Those records did not match up with the ones used in the legal fight; in fact, it showed the hospital's paperwork was altered.

"I was upset," Santos said. "Why would you lie and try to cover up something and hide the fact that you messed up."

In four different cases, the hospital's paperwork did not add up and appeared altered with added phrases.

All the alterations were allegedly made by therapists to reportedly favor the hospital against Cortez's legal fight.

"So then when I saw that they did lie and alter the records, it was like being re-victimized again," Fran Cortez, Cortez's wife, said. "A way for them to skate by and make it look like my fault or his fault blame the patient for your miss-doings it was horrible."

The couple is seeking to hold IU Health accountable for the use of altered documents.

"We say to the court that forgery and counterfeiting has occurred," David Cutshaw, Cortez's attorney, said. "We say to the court these witnesses who generated these altered records lied under oath in depositions to try to cover their own negligence."

Cortez says he assumes the medical professionals knew what they were doing, that he trusted they were the experts in his case.

"I wouldn't ask them how to do a traffic stop. They would have no idea," Cortez said, as an example.

Just like with anything, police are held to a higher standard why aren't medical professionals?
Santos Cortez

From coaching football to addressing police recruit classes, Cortez persists in living life to the fullest.

"It just shows my kids no matter what your life adversity, whatever life gives you and the adversities that are in front of you, you can overcome," Cortez said. 'You can adapt and move forward."

The lawsuit is in the early stages. If there is no settlement reached, Cortez's attorney will ask for a jury trial in Indianapolis.

A spokesperson for IU Health released a statement to RTV6 in this case.

"We are not able to provide information on active legal matters; However, we are committed to providing quality care and service to all of our patients and their families."