A major medical malpractice insurance carrier released its findings from a closed claims study regarding neurosurgeons. It provides insights into the most common types of claims of medical negligence against neurosurgeons.
What is a neurosurgeon?
First, though, let’s address the question: What is a neurosurgeon?
Neurosurgeons are physicians with significant specialty training on how to diagnose and surgically treat disorders of the central and peripheral nervous system. In my experience, neurosurgeons typically focus their practice on one of three areas: the brain, spinal cord, or peripheral nervous system.
Diagnostic issues are uncommon
Interestingly, allegations of improper diagnosis only account for 10% of closed claims. In comparison to other medical specializations, this is a low figure. I believe that this is likely because of the availability of diagnostic imaging and other testing, including CT scans, MRI scans, ultrasounds, and other studies.
Improper performance of surgery
The most common allegations against neurosurgeons involve the improper performance of surgery, accounting for 40% of all claims. This is consistent with my experience in handling medical malpractice lawsuits involving neurosurgeons. Of these claims, 65% of them involved allegations of poor technical performance.
This reminds me of a case that I handled in Waco a few years ago that was horrifying. A young man in his 20s had an essential tremor in his hand. His primary care provider referred him for a neurosurgery consultation.
A neurosurgeon recommended a stereotactic brain surgery, and the patient consented. According to nurses in the operating room, the neurosurgeon “got lost” as he searched for the correct structure in the brain and moved the endoscope in and out. Sadly, this left the patient with a permanent brain injury. Painter Law Firm filed a medical malpractice lawsuit on the patient’s behalf, which focused on the neurosurgeon’s operating room misadventure.
Other issues involving technical performance include mismanagement of CT scans. Closed claims frequently involved allegations of CT scans being delayed or not ordered at all.
Improper management of surgical patients
According to the closed claims study, around one-third of medical malpractice claims against neurosurgeons involve allegations of improper management of surgical patients. These claims include issues such as poor assessment of patients and improper management of therapy.
If you’ve been seriously injured because of poor neurosurgical care in Texas, then contact a top-rated, experienced Texas medical malpractice lawyer for a free consultation about your potential case.