Is Laser Spine Surgery a fraud?

I came across an intriguing yet disturbing article found in Business Week, drafted by David Armstrong concerning the growth of a facility in Tampa known as Laser Spine Institute. Specifically, the article discusses the rapid growth of this facility which focuses on offering outpatient laser spine surgery as basically a cookie cutter solution to most discogenic spine pathology and symptomatology. Unfortunately, many of these surgeries have turned out to be unwarranted and have proven to be unsuccessful.

Even more troubling is that Laser Spine Institute was founded by Orthopedic Spine Surgeon James St. Louis who was only a year removed from personal bankruptcy when he sought investors for his new practice. He now owns multi-million dollar homes in Florida and in Aspen, Colorado. According to the article, Laser Spine Institute regularly rewards its employees with lavish trips to locations like the Bahamas when they reach specified sales goals. This raises the question, has profit clouded the judgment of the physicians at Laser Spine Institute? Are medical decisions being with only profit in mind?

There have been fifteen malpractice claims filed against Laser Spine Institute since October 2009, during a time period in which approximately 7500 procedures were performed. According to the author, the national average for outpatient surgery centers is six malpractice claims per every 20,000 procedures performed. As a Clearwater personal injury attorney, I have been watching this story unfold for a few years. Insurance carriers have strongly scrutinized laser spine procedures and are reluctant to settle such claims as they see such procedures as unwarranted and based on questionable science. Many recent trials involving personal injury claimants who received laser spine surgery have resulted in defense verdicts due to the questionable procedure and the even more spurious billing practices employed by such facilities.

Matthew A. Dolman, is a Clearwater personal injury attorney and a Florida brain injury attorney who limits his practice to claims arising from automobile accidents, wrongful death, insurance carrier bad faith, traumatic brain injury, spine injuries, and catastrophic injuries. For more information, please contact Matthew at: matt@dolmanlaw.com.

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