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US neurosurgeon deliberately botched spine operations, prosecutors allege

BMJ 2015; 351 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h4739 (Published 04 September 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h4739
  1. Owen Dyer
  1. 1Montreal

A US neurosurgeon is accused of leaving a trail of death and disability after botching spine operations in what prosecutors allege were deliberate attacks on his patients.

“I am ready to leave the love and kindness and goodness and patience that I mix with everything else that I am and become a cold blooded killer.” This extract from a rambling email sent to an employee in 2011 was cited as evidence of the state of mind of Christopher Duntsch shortly before he performed a string of badly botched operations at Baylor Regional Medical Center in Plano, Texas and in other north Texas hospitals.

Duntsch is accused of deliberately leaving a sponge in one patient that caused infection, deliberately inserting excessively long spinal screws in another, cutting a major vein, and needlessly dissecting a patient’s esophagus. …

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