A Texan neurosurgeon is one the few surgeons to be convicted of crimes committed in the operating theatre
It is rare for a surgeon to be convicted of crimes committed in the operating theatre.
But former Texan neurosurgeon Christopher Duntsch left such a bloody trail it took jurors only one hour to sentence him to life in prison for intentionally harming patients.
“This is a great day,” said Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson after the verdict was handed down last month. “We have done something historic.”
Duntsch was charged with five counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and a single count of harming an elderly person.
[The case represents] a complete and utter failure of the entire system of checks and balances for patient safety.
The prosecution focused on one victim, Mary Efurd, who was left wheelchair-bound at the age of 74 after Duntsch performed spinal surgery on her in 2012.
Ms Efurd called for tighter controls and greater accountability. “It shouldn’t happen again,” she said.
Duntsch was also accused of maiming four patients and causing the death of two patients between 2012 and 2013.
More that 30 patients suffered harm at the hands of Duntsch during his career, according to the prosecution.
Expert witness Dr Carlos Bagley, the director of the Neurological and Surgical Spine program at UT Southwestern, said the case represented a “a complete and utter failure of the entire system of checks and balances for patient safety”.
The Texas Medical Board allowed Duntsch to keep his licence for a year after first receiving complaints about his performance.