Articles Posted in Neurosurgery Errors

Samuel Chifalo, 63, fell and hit his head. An ambulance crew arrived and put a cervical collar on before taking him to Parkview Medical Center.

At the hospital, the staff noted that Chifalo had difficulty moving his arms and legs. Nevertheless, emergency room physician Dr. Ashley Ostrand did not document this condition after doing a physical exam and recording Chifalo’s medical history. The doctor ordered CT scans of Chifalo’s neck and head and discharged him from the hospital with a referral to an orthopedic surgeon.

The next day, Chifalo was unable to walk and returned to the emergency room at the same hospital. This time Dr. Ostrand ordered MRIs of his head and cervical and thoracic spinal cord regions. Chifalo was then diagnosed as having a spinal cord injury at C3-4 with quadriparesis. Despite rehabilitation, Chifalo continued to suffer from paralysis.
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The Florida Supreme Court has held that the trial court committed reversible error by allowing testimony by deposition of a patient’s treating neurosurgeon. The doctor testified at trial about what he would have done had the patient arrived at the hospital 1-2 hours earlier.

Alexis Cantore, 12 years old at the time, suffered a brain herniation resulting from hydrocephalus. Alexis and her parents sued two hospitals claiming that her untimely transport to a higher-level hospital led to a delayed treatment and late brain surgery to attempt to release the pressure on the brain.

At the jury trial, over the plaintiff’s objections, the first hospital offered the deposition testimony of the pediatric neurosurgeon who operated on Alexis. The doctor answered hypothetical questions about how he would have treated Alexis had she arrived at the second hospital 1-2 hours earlier. The jury found in favor of the defendants.
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A  man with impaired cardiac, respiratory and cognitive function was diagnosed as having a benign brain tumor. This was a tumor that — in most cases — could have been safely removed by a neurosurgeon. A neurosurgeon, known here only as Dr. Roe, performed the surgery to extract the tumor. However, Dr. Roe was unable to remove the mass during the surgery.

As a result of a failure to remove the tumor, the patient suffered vision loss and balance problems after the procedure. He died of unrelated causes 22 months later.

His family sued Dr. Roe and the clinic where Dr. Roe worked, claiming that Dr. Roe chose not to follow an accepted approach in the surgery to remove the tumor.

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