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A closer look at a surgeon’s botched operations

His track record as a neurosurgeon is allegedly one of causing pain rather than alleviating it, of harming rather than helping and of leaving patients worse off than when they came to see him. ThoughDr. Christopher Duntsch has not yet become a topic of national interest, some of our Covington readers might recall the story of the Texas physician gaining notoriety as the so-called "sociopath surgeon."

We touched on the tale of the 44-year-old briefly last month and wanted to return with some more details. He's accused in a number of medical malpractice claims by former patients, but his alleged malpractice is so egregious that is has crossed into the world of criminal justice. The surgeon is accused of five counts of aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury and one count of injury to a child, elderly or disabled person.

Prosecutors say Duntsch, who had his medical license revoked two years ago, intentionally inflicted harm and severe pain on patients, including four left paralyzed and two dead after bungled operations on their spines.

A newspaper quoted the Texas Medical Board stating that "Duntsch...intentionally, knowingly and recklessly cause(d) serious bodily injury" by incorrectly positioning an interbody device, slicing a vertebral artery and then disregarding the patient's "excessive blood loss during surgery." She died a day after a spinal fusion and disc removal operation that should have been "routine."

Other accusations of malicious negligence include:

  • A male patient had his spinal cord cut during surgery, leaving him paralyzed.
  • Another misplaced device on a female patient's spine damaged nerves. "She no longer has control over her foot," a newspaper reports.
  • In yet another case of alleged malpractice, Duntsch damaged a patient’s vertebral artery, caused a severe infection by leaving a sponge inside the man and also caused spinal nerve damage.

Few medical malpractice cases sink to this level, but all require victims to have at their side an experienced attorney familiar with this complex area of law. A skilled lawyer fights for full compensation both in negotiations with insurers and at court. Please see our Cincinnati Failure to Diagnose Lawyers page for more information about The Lawrence Firm, PSC, Attorneys at Law.

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