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Doctor Licensed in Michigan Committed Numerous Surgical Errors

A surgeon licensed in four states has a terrible track record for surgical errors. He currently works in a Veterans Administration hospital in New Mexico and is licensed to practice medicine in Michigan, Oklahoma, New York and Pennsylvania.

Three times in a four-year period, a board certified neurological surgeon committed medical mistakes by operating on the wrong part of patients' spines; twice in New York and once in Oklahoma. The surgeon's medical license was suspended in Oklahoma for six months but, during that suspension, was hired by the Albuquerque VA last year.

Over the course of his 31-year medical practice, the doctor has received probation, a reprimand, mandatory monitoring, and fines in addition to settling one case for $400,000. In two of the three most recent instances, the doctor neglected to inform the patients and their family of his errors. One patient claims that he suffers from additional injury to his spine due to the doctor's surgical error and is suing the doctor and the medical facility in Oklahoma where he had his surgery.

Patients who suffer from surgical errors may find themselves in a Catch-22. Some state medical associations, like the New Mexico Medical Board, do not investigate claims of medical malpractice committed by doctors who are licensed in other states despite allowing them to practice medicine within their borders. Additionally, medical associations may not investigate instances of medical errors by doctors they license if those errors occur in other states.

Source: Stars and Stripes, "Suspension doesn't stop VA doctor from practicing," Colleen Heild, June 24, 2012.

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