Texas neurosurgeon found guilty of malpractice — Several patients found with surgical waste postoperative

Written by Mackenzie Garrity | May 16, 2018 | Print  |

It took only a few hours for a Dallas County jury to convict neurosurgeon Christopher Duntsch, MD, of first-degree felony for endangering an elderly woman in the operating room, the Sarasota Legal Examiner reports.

Back in 2013, the Texas Medical Board stripped Dr. Duntsch of his medical licenses after a series of botched surgeries that left two patients dead, four unable to walk and many others with surgical waste left inside them. The Dallas police then began investigating Dr. Duntsch, and in 2015 the neurosurgeon was arrested. Dr. Duntsch was indicted on five counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and a single count of harming an elderly woman. Prosecutors only sough a single charge of endangering a patient.

Prosecutors laid out a case describing Dr. Duntsch as an egotistical neurosurgeon who not only was neglectful to patients but also intentionally harmed them. The patient who led to his conviction underwent a fusion on two vertebrae. However, the patient was left with chronic pain and immobile after the procedure.

The patient went to another orthopedic surgeon for a correction surgery. The surgeon found misplaced fusion hardware in the patient's soft muscle as well as severed nerve roots and misplaced screw holes on the opposite side of the patient's body.

Along with Dr. Duntsch's wrongdoings, the jury also learned of faults at Regional Medical Center at Plano (Texas). The center failed to alert the National Practitioners Databank after one of Dr. Duntsch's patients bled to death.

The University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis also allowed Dr. Duntsch to practice after completing his residency and medical school despite concerns over the surgeon's skills. Additionally, the Texas Medical Board let Dr. Duntsch keep his medical license for a year after it was notified of the problematic surgeries.

Three years after he was charged, Dr. Duntsch was sentenced to life in prison.

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