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Reprimand or Full Inquiry: Bradenton Neurosurgeon Who Made Second ‘Hole in Head’ Error Must Decide

Posted on February 5, 2013

A Bradenton neurosurgeon who cut a hole on the wrong side of a patient’s skull — amazingly, the second such offense in his career — got a surprise from the Florida Board of Medicine in Jacksonville. He found out that they were not going to honor a proposed settlement from the Florida Department of Health (DOH) that would have let him off the hook with a relative slap on the wrist of a fine and “letter of concern.”

Instead, the board said the doctor had a choice: accept a reprimand or go through an expensive and lengthy full evidentiary hearing on the matter.

According to Health News Florida (HNF), the board was angered that the surgeon had been offered such a light penalty from DOH because guidelines for a second offense “wrong-way” surgery call for a reprimand at the very least. HNF reports that doctors prefer “letters of concern” to reprimands because reprimands must be reported to the National Physicians Data Bank — a data bank that health plans and hospitals are supposed to check before hiring and granting privileges to doctors.

This case stemmed from a 2012 incident in which the surgeon was supposed to cut open a hole on the left side of a 65-year-old patient’s skull to relieve pressure on the brain, but cut a hole on the right side instead.

The chairman of the Board of Medicine said the mistake was “completely preventable” and called the error by the surgeon and the proposed DOH settlement “abominable.”

Have you or a loved one suffered an injury due to a preventable medical error or medical malpractice? You may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, hospitalization, pain and suffering, and other damages Contact the surgical malpractice attorneys at Farah & Farah for an explanation of your legal options. Call us at (800) 533-3555 or contact us online for a free review of your case.