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Doctors, Botched Surgeries & Medical Malpractice

Seeking Compensation via Medical Malpractice Claim for a Botched Surgery

Medical malpractice is a scary idea. We would like to believe that doctors and surgeons are reliable professionals in their fields. And what’s even scarier, medical professionals are where we turn when we are desperate for help. If they can’t handle the situation, or severely botch the process, who else are we to turn to?

Unfortunately, there have been many cases in which people have had impaired medical professionals, unprepared surgeons, doctors who perform the wrong surgery, a medical team without proper sterilization, doctors that leave objects inside of patients, or inadequate post-surgery care. All of these situations are extremely stressful and painful for the victims and can turn into lawsuits to compensate for their losses.

However, just recently, this relationship between patient and medical professional was tested even further because of one bad apple that made every single one of those mistakes over the course of a few months. Christopher Duntsch is accused of knowingly botching at least 15 surgeries.

Christopher Duntsch, aka Dr. Death (photo from D Magazine)

Dr. Death, Christopher Duntsch

Almost like a story from Hollywood, Christopher Duntsch “intentionally, knowingly and recklessly” botched the procedures because he was “ready to leave the love and kindness and goodness and patience [behind]…and become a cold-blooded killer.”[1] One of his victims, Jeffrey Glidewell and his wife are suing the former Dallas neurosurgeon over a 2013 surgery in which medical staff, horrified by Duntsch’s errors, forced him to stop operating, according to a police affidavit. Duntsch left a surgical sponge in Glidewell’s body, which got infected. In addition to Glidewell, Duntsch is accused of one death and four injuries in Dallas that are all due to his practice. However, there are more charges stemming from the death of another former patient and the injuring of 10 others. Duntsch was later convicted of these and other crimes and sentenced to life in prison. All four hospitals that he worked at currently have civil cases pending against them.

This is an extreme example of one bad surgeon, but that doesn’t mean that all other surgeries are not as detrimental. Of course, in most cases, the doctor doesn’t intentionally hurt the patient, but nonetheless, patients are injured. If you’re concerned about being the victim of a botched surgery, here are some legal questions you should be aware of:

Questions about Medical Malpractice

  • Isn’t It Obviously the Hospital or Doctor’s Fault?

Sometimes the surgeries can be easily prevented, such as the case when surgeons leave behind medical instruments and tools or when they operate on the wrong side of the body. However, it’s not always this clear cut. Sometimes, illnesses or complications arise months later that were caused by a botched surgery. However, these examples are a lot harder to prove than finding a surgical sponge left in your body.

  • Do You Need an Expert Witness?

In complex cases involving technical errors or distinctions, a valid expert may be needed to explain how the surgery was due to a doctor’s negligence. Often times, these expert witnesses will be master surgeons who can clearly see and articulate how negligence was involved in an injury. These expert witnesses are often critical to medical malpractice cases.

  • How Do You Get Access to Medical Records?

You can gain access to medical records regarding your botched surgery or procedure by having a court issue a subpoena. A judge will review the case for credibility and then court order the medical facility to release the information.

Typical Malpractice Lawsuits

Forty percent of all medical malpractice claims are comprised of failures to diagnose an illness; or an illness or issue being misdiagnosed for another illness. Recent medical advancements in disease detection and treatment mean that the failure to diagnose a medical condition could most certainly impact the result of treatment or whether treatment will be an option.

A failure to diagnose can occur in many ways: It can occur via improper conducting of a physical examination, failing to perform regular screenings in high-risk patients, misinterpreting test results, missing potential indications of a problem, failing to order appropriate tests when they are indicated, or failing to refer a patient. Commonly, medical providers fail to document a differential diagnosis at the first visit in more than 80% of misdiagnosis cases.

Regardless of the cause of a failure to diagnose or misdiagnose, innocent people can suffer very serious harm as a result, such as medical complications, the need for more expensive or aggressive treatments, permanent bodily injury, decreased survival rates, shortened life spans, or death. Heart disease, stroke, breast cancer, and colon cancer are among the most common diseases that doctors can fail to diagnose [2].

Unfortunately, medical mistakes are now estimated to kill up to 440,000 people in U.S. hospitals each year, making preventable errors the third leading cause of death in American behind heart disease and cancer. Wrong doses, undetected tumors, objects left behind in patients’ bodies, and missed or late diagnosis are just some of the errors that are an “everyday occurrence” in the medical community [3].

Contact a Florida Medical Malpractice Lawyer

People who have been injured by the negligence of a medical practitioner are regularly entitled to substantial monetary compensation. In numerous cases, the difficulties associated with medical malpractice can be tremendously serious, so it’s vital that victims ensure that their legal rights are sheltered by retaining an advocate who has a history of success litigating medical malpractice claims. The attorneys of the Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA are accomplished medical malpractice lawyers who know how to acquire the compensation our clients deserve. To schedule a free consultation with our attorneys, contact us in one of these ways:

Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765

Medical Malpractice Lawyer


[1] http://www.businessinsider.com/ap-prosecutors-ex-surgeon-calls-himself-killer-in-email-2015-8
[2] https://www.dolmanlaw.com/failure-diagnose/
[3] http://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/when-docs-make-mistakes-should-colleagues-tell-yes-report-says-f8C11498661