Neurosurgery malpractice claims are difficult for the medical malpractice attorney. There are multiple challenges associated with these claims that must be overcome in order to obtain a recovery of compensatory damages for your client. These cases are typically expensive and time-consuming.
The first challenge associated with neurosurgery malpractice claims is finding an expert who is willing to review the chart. The American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) has taken an aggressive stance towards neurosurgeons who testify against other neurosurgeons. The AANS has enacted a code of ethics for expert witnesses which permits an existing member to bring charges against a fellow neurosurgeon who testifies against him or her. On the other hand, patients are not afforded standing to bring similar charges against a defense neurosurgeon who grossly exaggerates the state of the medical literature and perpetrates fraudulent medical opinions at trial. The punitive actions of the AANS board against neurosurgeons who testify against fellow neurosurgeons has a chilling effect on the willingness of neurosurgeons to testify against one another. Retired neurosurgeons who retained the knowledge, training and skill level of actively practicing neurosurgeons are often barred by state law from reviewing cases. For example, in the State of Ohio, a medical expert must be actively engaged in the practice of medicine. Therefore, a retired neurosurgeon cannot render opinions against a fellow neurosurgeon in this state.
A second challenge in neurosurgery malpractice cases, i.e., medical negligence cases arising out of mistakes made by a neurosurgeon, exist by virtue of the complexity of neural surgical medicine. Brain surgeons and rocket scientists are commonly understood to be the most highly trained and educated individuals on the planet. However, when a neurological surgeon makes a mistake, he or she should be held accountable.
Complex medical concepts often foil a medical malpractice attorney’s ability to prove a claim for medical negligence to a lay jury. The more complex the subject matter, the more likely the lay jurors will throw up their hands and claim that the plaintiff has not met their burden of proof. Like most areas of medicine, neurosurgery is getting even more complicated as new procedures and diagnostic modalities come into existence.
Finally, there is tremendous bias in favor of all doctors, but especially neurosurgeons. Lay jurors are in awe of neurosurgeons. In a common word association game, lay people associate neurosurgeons with the word “hero.” By contrast, many people look down their nose at individuals who bring lawsuits against doctors and medical malpractice attorneys who represent them. These vastly disparate biases operate against the plaintiff who was been harmed by medical mistake, medical error or negligent act of a neurosurgeon.
Despite these challenges, medical malpractice lawyers continue to evaluate claims arising out of negligent neurosurgical care. The brain is an unforgiving organ, such that when a mistake is made, the damages devastating and permanent. Lawyers must continue to evaluate these claims in order to hold neurosurgeons accountable and promote good neurosurgical practices to protect patients in the future. If you have questions about a case, contact a personal injury attorney, like Mishkind Kulwicki Law Co., L.P.A.,a personal injury attorney, for advice.