A man who became quadriplegic following spine surgery won a hollow victory in his medical malpractice lawsuit against his spine surgeon when the Boston medical malpractice jury hearing his case determined on January 30, 2017 that the spine surgeon was wrong for doing two spine surgeries at the same time, including the plaintiff’s surgery, but that the double-booking of surgeries was not the cause of the plaintiff’s injuries.
The Boston medical malpractice jury found that the defendant spine surgeon failed to inform the 45-year-old father of two that he would be performing two spine surgeries simultaneously (the defendant performed surgeries on two patients in different operating rooms for more than a five-hour period; the plaintiff’s surgery lasted eleven hours in total). The plaintiff testified during his medical malpractice trial that he would never have consented to the defendant spine surgeon performing his surgery while simultaneously performing spine surgery on another patient, which is known as concurrent surgery.
The plaintiff’s surgery took place in 2012. In 2011, the same spine surgeon allegedly performed concurrent surgeries on two patients that resulted in one patient, a former relief pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, suffering the end of his professional baseball career due to the botched back surgery. Another former patient reportedly filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the same surgeon as a result of that patient’s surgery in 2011.
The plaintiff’s medical malpractice lawyer told the jury that the defendant spine surgeon engaged in a cover-up to conceal that he had left the operating room during the plaintiff’s surgery to perform complex spine surgery on a 70-year-old woman in another operating room. The plaintiff’s medical malpractice lawyer argued to the jury that the defendant spine surgeon had originally wrote in the other patient’s chart immediately after her spine surgery that he was present during the critical second phase of her surgery but two weeks later changed the entry in her chart to state that the critical phase of the surgery he was referring to in his initial chart entry included the positioning of the patient, directing the incision, and planning for surgical instrument removal, in order to suggest in her chart that he was present in the operating room only during the beginning of her surgery so that it appeared that he was otherwise present in the operating room for the plaintiff’s surgery.
The defense told the jury that there was no cover-up, and that the defendant spine surgeon only left the plaintiff’s operating room during normal breaks, such as when x-rays were taken or the surgical staff was re-positioning the patient on the operating room table.
The defendant spine surgeon, who was in charge of the Massachusetts hospital’s spine service at the time of the plaintiff’s surgery, left in 2015 to become a professor of orthopedic surgery at Stanford University in California.
If you or a loved one were injured during or following spine surgery and the harm suffered was unexpected or unanticipated, you should promptly find a medical malpractice lawyer in your U.S. state who may investigate your spine surgery claim for you and represent you in a surgical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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