A New York brain surgeon who has already been sued at least 20 times, can add three more lawsuits to his resume; the latest brought by women from across the country who sought his expertise to relieve their painful spinal conditions and ended up worse after treatment, according to their attorney.
The three women have Chiari malformation, a condition in which brain tissue extends into the spinal canal. It occurs when part of the skull is abnormally small or misshapen, pressing on the brain and forcing it downward.
Many people with Chiari malformation have no signs or symptoms and do not need treatment. However, for some, the condition is painful and has myriad, life-disrupting symptoms, including: headaches, neck pain, unsteady gait, poor hand coordination, numbness and tingling, dizziness, difficulty swallowing and breathing, vision and speech problems, tinnitus, slow heart beat and scoliosis.
When successful, surgery can reduce pressure on the brain and spinal cord and restore the normal flow of spinal fluid. This, in turn, can stop the progression of changes to the brain, stabilize the spinal canal and ease symptoms.
All three women, ages 24, 29 and 55, sought relief from Dr. Paolo Bolognese, but the women say they were given unnecessary surgery or the doctor botched their treatments. All “were left horribly damaged” and report being in constant pain. The youngest is bedridden. They are not the first to file lawsuits against the doctor. He has been sued at least 20 times over his medical care, including a case in 2009 when he did not even operate.
Bolognese had a surgery scheduled in 2009, but he took his family on vacation instead. His mentor, the former chief of neurosurgery at the hospital where they both practiced at the time, refused to cover for Bolognese and the patient was left lying on an operating room table anesthetized. The patient subsequently sued the doctors. Both doctors were suspended by the hospital briefly. The elder doctor retired, but Bolognese was reinstated and resumed his practice. The state health department could have fined the hospital nearly $30,000 for the incident, but declined to do so, saying the patient was “inconvenienced,” but not harmed when her doctors abandoned her in the operating room.
In another incident, the mother of a 4-year-old girl, reported in 2010 that Bolognese subjected her child to unnecessary neurosurgery for Chiari malformation, after which the little girl developed a dangerous spinal cord cyst. Despite that, Bolognese recommended to the mother that her healthy son, the 4-year-old's twin brother, have the surgery as well.
If you have been harmed or if a loved one has died as a result of the recklessness or negligence of a healthcare professional, you may be entitled to compensation. Call the offices of trial attorneys Charles Gilman and Briggs Bedigian at 800-529-6162 or contact them online. The firm handles cases in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C.