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Neurosurgeon’s medical mistake gives rise to malpractice claims

Oregon patients trust that they are receiving the b est medical care from their doctors and the other members of their medical team. While most of the time patients can rest assured they are being treated by competent medical hands, medical mistakes can happen. Mistakes such as accidental overdoses and anesthesia errors can result in injuries to the patient and even lead to a wrongful death claim.

However, medical malpractice can take many forms. The story of one neurosurgeon at UC Davis who is in the middle of a growing scandal is an example of the various scenarios in which a malpractice claim may arise.

The doctor engaged in experimental treatments in patients with terminal brain cancer. The neurosurgeon has claimed he did nothing wrong when he obtained the consent of several terminally ill patients to conduct an experimental treatment. In the treatment, the doctor and a colleague opened the patients’ skulls and infected them with bacteria. It was theorized that this would trigger an immune response and prolong the patients’ lives, but two of the patients died from sepsis shortly after the procedures.

It was recently announced that the doctor is taking a leave of absence from the university medical center where he headed the neurological surgery department. The news comes prior to the public release of a federal investigation into the work of the doctor and a colleague at the medical center. Several investigations by different agencies have been launched into this doctor’s work since 2011.

A major issue is whether medical, ethical and legal boundaries were crossed in these experimental treatments. The United States tightly regulates the use of humans to test experimental drugs or treatments in order to prevent the exploitation of patients.

At least four new malpractice claims have been filed against the doctor where he was involved in a patient’s care. Any Oregon patients who have experienced medical malpractice should know that they, too, have the right to pursue compensation for their losses.

Source: The Sacramento Bee, “Controversial UC Davis neurosurgeon goes on leave,” Marjie Lundstrom, Dec. 7, 2012