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Doctor faces jail time for serious surgical errors

Some Delaware patients are more comfortable undergoing surgery than others. For many patients, trusting their lives to a surgeon can be a terrifying experience. Often, a doctor's reputation and experience aides in calming a patient's fears. Despite extensive training for surgeons, surgical errors still occur. While some errors may be insignificant to the health of a patient, many may cause life altering disabilities or death.

In another state, a surgeon was recently was convicted of criminal charges after he made a serious surgical error on a 74-year-old female patient. It is rare for a physician to be convicted of criminal charges related to his or her practice, but apparently it was believed that the harm caused in this case was reckless. The surgeon's 17 years of experience and training should have meant that the patient's two vertebrae fusion would have been a simple surgery for him. Despite the experience, the patient was not able to stand after surgery. A follow up surgery performed by a different physician discovered multiple evident mistakes from her previous surgery.

Reports indicate that the surgeon had a history of settling other medical malpractice cases in which patients suffered debilitating injuries, and he was criminally charged in several other patient cases. It is speculated that there may have been many other patients harmed or may have died as a result of his surgical errors. The surgeon's poor practice was apparently evident to other surgeons, as no other surgeon would collaborate with him. Co-workers and friends also told stores of a personal life allegedly involving alcohol and drugs that may have affected his work as a surgeon.

The patient harmed in this case stated that after her spinal surgery that she has lost her independence. She now relies on others to drive her places, cook her meals and help with other daily activities. Most cases of surgical errors are not prosecuted in a criminal court, but instead a Delaware medical malpractice attorney can advise patients of their litigation rights in a civil court. Based on evidence presented, a monetary award may be given to injured parties for any associated malpractice costs.

Source: The Washington Post, "Texas neurosurgeon nicknamed 'Dr. Death' found guilty of maiming woman during surgery", Travis M. Andrews, Feb. 16, 2017

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