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News » Partially blind, color blind surgeon continues to practice despite lawsuits

Partially blind, color blind surgeon continues to practice despite lawsuits

A lawsuit was filed against an neurosurgeon who operated on the wrong part of a man's back to relieve a slipped disc, but resulted in chronic pain and paralysis of his foot. The neurosurgeon is almost completely blind in one eye, with color blindness of the other, features which make it very difficult to practice surgery. The doctor had already faced 6 previous malpractice suits and with his eye condition, would not normally be accepted into the armed forces, police, flying training, or operating commercial vehicles. However, his previous hospitals of employment, medical school and specialist training board continue to endorse his work, which numbers to 300-400 operations a year. A heavy-machinery operator also required back surgery for a herniated disc, but it resulted in spinal fluid leakage from the surgical wound causing him inability to walk and infection, until another doctor successfully closed the defect. The man died 8 years later after being bed bound, with chronic pain in his back and chronic cardiac disease. Another malpractice lawsuit that the neurosurgeon had been involved in was regarding an operation on a pinched nerve in a lady's leg that was causing pain. She recovered from the surgery with a paralysed leg after the surgeon cut her femoral nerve, which he initially blamed on a blood clot, resulting in reduced ability to walk. A woman with burning leg pain that radiated down her lower back to her leg with numbness in her foot saw the neurosurgeon for treatment and post-op suffered numbness in the other foot, and bowel and urinary incontinence. It was found that the neurosurgeon had damaged the nerves of the lower back that are involved with bowel and bladder regulation and that the patient had lost 2 litres of blood during the operation. As the neurosurgeon had lost his eyesight at an early age it is claimed that his neurological system has adapted to his reduced vision, however, the addition of color blindness in the remaining eye is reported not to support his admission onto a surgical training program.

Source: summary of medical news story as reported by The News & Observer

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About: Partially blind, color blind surgeon continues to practice despite lawsuits

Date: 17 July 2005

Source: The News & Observer

Author: Joseph Neff


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