“I’m the Best,” Says Dr. Death
I think we can all agree that fewer medical malpractice lawsuits would be a good thing. Firstly, even though patients may take home multi-million-dollar settlements, they pay dearly for those settlements. Most are left with serious life-altering disabilities or their families are left filing wrongful death lawsuits on their behalf. When politicians decry the cost of medical malpractice lawsuits on the health care industry, it’s largely because of how many there are and costs related to litigation. Yet if state medical boards and other officials had done their job and stripped underperforming doctors of their licenses, many of these lawsuits could have been avoided. If hospitals themselves had performed sufficient research on their doctors, these lawsuits could have been avoided.
Christopher Duntsch, Dr. Death
While Christopher Duntsch described himself as “the best” doctor for surgical relief of back pain, his colleagues described him as “horrendous” and “pathetic”. Nonetheless, Duntsch had sterling credentials and positions in some of Dallas’ most prestigious hospitals where he continuously botched surgeries that led to long-term disabilities for his patients. Meanwhile, colleagues reported that Duntsch would get drunk and high on the job and at one point consumed an entire sheet of LSD (100 doses) on his birthday. In 2007, someone filed an anonymous complaint against the doctor which resulted in a short stay in a treatment facility. It would be six years later until Duntsch’s medical license was suspended and then revoked.
Why Bad Doctors are Allowed to Continue to Practice Medicine
In cases like these, you have a doctor with a known drug problem who botched one surgery after the other on his way to having his license revoked. Many of those who he killed and maimed would prefer to have the use of their bodies back rather than substantial jury verdicts and settlements that compensate them for their pain and permanent impairment. So why didn’t did the State of Texas react sooner to Duntsch’s problems?
It wouldn’t be until 2015 that Duntsch was indicted on charges related to a botched surgery during which he was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. It was never clear to anyone whether or not Duntsch’s actions were those of a dead-souled murderer or the extreme incompetence of a drug-addled doctor. Eventually, Duntsch was sentenced to life in prison.
The question on everyone’s minds was: How was this situation allowed to get this far? Duntsch was clearly a deluded narcissist who entertained delusions of grandeur while destroying his patient’s lives. Additionally, most neurosurgeons are required to have at least 1000 hours of surgical experience under their belt before performing surgeries themselves. Duntsch had somewhere around 100. At each step, there was someone who failed the myriad patients that Duntsch had operated on after it became apparent that he was in no condition to practice medicine. Today, he serves as a terrible reminder that the same system that failed those patients remains in place.
Talk to a Houston Personal Injury Attorney
If you’ve been injured by medical negligence, the Houston injury attorneys at Livingston & Flowers, P.L.L.C. can help you recover damages related to your claim. Talk to us today for a free consultation.