Orthopedic Surgeon Faces a Possible 100 Malpractice Cases

You suffer an injury and need surgery. You have to rely on your surgeon to play it straight with you. Besides a second opinion, never a bad idea, what else can you do? Far down on your list of fears: not getting the surgery the doctor tells you that you are getting.

But, in massive numbers, that seems to have happened in New York. There are currently dozens of new lawsuits, alleging medical malpractice, pending against a New York based orthopedic surgeon, with about another 100 cases being discussed.

Ten of the current lawsuits filed allege that the doctor performed surgery, but intentionally did not treat, or improperly treated, his patients’ injuries. While those complaints stem from a surgery performed, there are yet other complaints that allege a surgery was never performed. In one particular case, a patient went to the surgeon because of shoulder problems. A “shoulder reconstruction” was performed, but when the patient’s pain and problems continued, she sought a second opinion from another doctor. After a battery of x-rays, it was determined that there was no evidence whatsoever that the surgeon performed a shoulder reconstruction, such as screws, anchors, or a fixation device. That patient further claims that the doctor injured her nerves during the surgery, and as a result, she now has permanent hand numbness, and problems grasping things.

In yet another case, a patient’s family has filed suit, after the patient died from a pulmonary embolism. It is alleged that the patient signed a consent form, which provided that the doctor would insert an arthroscope into the patient’s knee, and remove any dead or damaged tissue. The form also provided that the patient consented to undergo any “additional operations” that were considered necessary. During the surgery, a total of six procedures were performed. The family is claiming that the doctor never explained the risks, benefits, and alternatives to those additional procedures and that the blood clot was a result of the six procedures.

The Hippocratic Oath, is an oath requiring new physicians to swear upon a number of healing gods, that they will uphold a number of professional ethical standards. Was that oath upheld in these cases? Well, I’m not sure, as I don’t know all the specifics of these particular cases – that is for a jury to decide. But I know one thing for sure….with ten lawsuits pending, and another possible 100 on the way, something went wrong. Very wrong. Perhaps “Do no harm” took too much time to abide by, in a world where maximizing profits are more important.

The other question I can’t get out of my head: assuming the allegations are true as this whole post tends to assume, how did he think he would get away with it? Patients are always getting follow up care from other doctors, including diagnostic tests that would give them an indication of whether the surgery had been performed. It is mind-boggling.