On September 25, 2014, after a seven-week medical malpractice trial, a North Carolina medical malpractice jury awarded the estate of a patient and her surviving husband only $1 against a defendant neurosurgeon whom the jury found to have been negligent in performing surgery on the woman – the defendant hospital and health system were found to be not liable.
The plaintiffs had sought both compensatory and punitive damages for alleged medical negligence, fraud, and for civil conspiracy. The 58-year-old woman had died on September 20, 2012, as a result of fatty liver disease.
The North Carolina medical malpractice lawsuit was filed in 2003, alleging that the defendant neurosurgeon performed medically unnecessary surgery that was experimental in nature, solely to line the surgeon’s pockets. The neurosurgeon reportedly performed controversial spinal decompression surgeries on patients suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia.
Although the defendant neurosurgeon has his supporters, he had been named as a defendant in more than 20 other medical malpractice claims. Additionally, the North Carolina Medical Board had summarily suspended his medical license in January 2003, which was reinstated in January 2004 with the restriction that his patients obtain a second opinion before he performed surgeries. In 2009, the neurosurgeon’s medical license was again suspended, this time for three months, after the North Carolina Medical Board determined that he had deviated from the acceptable standards of care in treating a patient in 2006. The neurosurgeon’s application for reinstatement was denied in August 2010; however, in November 2010, his North Carolina medical license was reinstated under specified conditions.
The North Carolina Medical Board’s licensure information on its website for the neurosurgeon indicates that the November 5, 2010 Order of the Board was amended by a Consent Order dated December 12, 2013, which relieved the neurosurgeon from specified conditions contained in the November 2010 Order regarding the cervical spine and stated that the neurosurgeon had complied with certain other conditions of the November 2010 Order. Nonetheless, the December 12, 2013 Order required the neurosurgeon to have patients with certain conditions to have an independent examination by a Board certified neurosurgeon approved by the Board who must perform a neurological examination and review the pertinent radiographic studies. If the consulting neurosurgeon determines that the patient is not a candidate for decompression surgery, the defendant neurosurgeon is precluded from performing elective or non-emergency surgery for hypoplastic posterior fossa or Chiari malformation on the patient. Source
The Board’s website indicates that the neurosurgeon’s North Carolina medical license is “active” and that he is not currently subject to license limitations. The website also indicates that no medical malpractice information had been reported.
If you or a loved one were injured as a result of medical negligence in North Carolina or in another U.S. state, you should promptly seek the legal advice of a local North Carolina medical malpractice attorney or a medical malpractice attorney in your state who may investigate your medical malpractice claim for you and represent you in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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