Many podcasts are told with some liberty to embellish the facts to make for a better story. In some cases, the story seems too horrible to be true. Listeners to the popular podcast Dr. Death may have suspected the surgeon behind the stories could not have been real. However, Dr. Christopher Duntsch was a real surgeon who was sentenced to prison for life after a conviction for maiming a patient.
Surgeon Accused of Gross Malpractice
Christopher Daniel Duntsch was a former neurosurgeon who had practiced in Plano, Texas. He had completed a spine fellowship program following medical school. When he went into practice, he began operating on patients with spinal issues. In a short period of time, most of Duntsch’s patients had suffered complications during or after the surgeries.
Of Duntsch’s 37 patients, 33 had suffered complications including permanent nerve damage. Two of his patients had died in the hospital following surgery. After Duntsch resigned from one medical center, he moved to another center in Dallas. After less than a week, he was dismissed following the death of a patient and maiming of another patient.
In one of Duntsch’s final operations, he was to remove a herniated disc causing pain in a 36-year-old patient. When the general surgeon looked over to Duntsch, he described the doctor as having blood all over his hands, pouring out of the patient. Duntsch said he was working by feel, not sight. The general surgeon had to step in and stabilize the patient. When Duntsch continued, he put a spinal cage in the wrong place but stripped the screws when trying to move it, leaving it in the wrong place. The general surgeon canceled all the remaining surgeries with Duntsch and promised to never work with him again.
In the case of Floella Brown, Duntsch had severed the patient’s vertebral artery, which led to bleeding and dying from a stroke. Kellie Martin was another patient who died after suffering a hemorrhage after an operation. After Mary Efurd was permanently injured following surgery, it was finally up to the criminal courts to step in to prevent more harm.
Duntsch was convicted of a first-degree felony for maiming a patient. He was found to have intentionally caused the injury and was sentenced to life in prison.
Dr. Death Podcast
Duntsch was the subject of a podcast called “Dr. Death.” The 10-episode show was described as, “about a medical system that failed to protect these patients at every possible turn.”
The journalist behind Dr. Death is releasing a second season based on another doctor’s frightening actions. The subject of season 2 is a doctor we’ve written about in a prior blog, “8 Million Settlement for More Than 40 Victims of Cancer Doctor Malpractice.”
Farid Fata was an oncologist accused of unlawful and unethical practices. A whistleblower notified authorities that Fata was prescribing unnecessary medical procedures for patients who did not have cancer, overmedicating others, and undertreating patients who did have cancer in a scheme to bill Medicare out of tens of millions of dollars.
If you believe you may have been the victim of a medical error, do not wait for the healthcare system to do the right thing. The skilled medical malpractice attorneys at Gilman & Bedigian fight to get compensation for injured patients and their families. Contact our law office online or by calling (800) 529-6162.
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