A neurosurgeon who allegedly operated on the wrong side of a patient’s spine, causing the patient to suffer a severe injury, testified on behalf of the defendant hospital on November 28, 2018 in an Illinois case alleging that the hospital where the surgery was performed was negligent in credentialing the neurosurgeon (i.e., a negligent credentialing claim).
The plaintiff and her husband allege in their negligent credentialing complaint that was filed in October 2009 that the plaintiff was supposed to have a minimally invasive procedure of the left side of her spine on November 1, 2007 to correct a left-sided herniated disc but the neurosurgeon operated on her right side instead, causing her profound muscle weakness in her right ankle and right foot, and foot drop on the right side due to decreased sensation in a nerve root, which requires that she use a walker or a wheelchair.
The neurosurgeon reportedly testified during trial that it was impossible that she operated on the patient’s wrong side because the operating room was set up to operate on the correct side.
The plaintiffs’ lawyer reportedly provided evidence that the neurosurgeon was cited in 2005 by the Colorado Medical Board with 17 counts of unprofessional conduct involving 17 patients between 1997 and 2004. The allegations reportedly involve wrong site surgeries, wrong side surgeries, and falsifying medical records. The neurosurgeon reportedly admitted to four allegations involving the seventeen patients, and agreed to allow her Colorado medical license to be inactive effective on September 1, 2005. The neurosurgeon subsequently reactivated her Illinois medical license. The neurosurgeon reportedly was denied a medical license in South Dakota in June 2006.
During testimony in the negligent credentialing lawsuit, the neurosurgeon reportedly admitted that she had drilled into the wrong side of a 55-year-old Down syndrome patient’s skull but justified her actions because the patient had issues with both sides of her head and the neurosurgeon chose to operate on the opposite side rather than the intended side “because of the way the room was set up.”
In another case that the plaintiffs’ negligent credentialing lawyer questioned the neurosurgeon about involved a scheduled elective surgery the neurosurgeon was performing on a patient when she was called to another hospital to perform an emergency procedure on another patient, leaving her physician’s assistant in charge of the elective surgery patient. The neurosurgeon reportedly testified that she left for only thirty minutes during the ten-hour surgery, instructing her physician’s assistant to “carry on.” The neurosurgeon reportedly further testified that she saved the life of the patient who was allegedly dying in the emergency room.
In defending the negligent credentialing claim, the hospital’s lawyer told the jury during opening arguments on November 28, 2018 that the neurosurgeon had performed 3,000 surgeries in Colorado between 1997 and September 2005 (when the neurosurgeon closed her Colorado office), and the Colorado Medical Board reportedly “found four cases,” telling the jury “None of us are perfect. If we only make one mistake out of 1,000, that’s pretty good.”
If you or a loved one have been injured due to surgery at the wrong site, surgery on the wrong side, or surgery on the wrong patient in Illinois or in another U.S. state, you or your loved one may be entitled to monetary compensation for the harm you suffered.
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