Dr. Christopher Duntsch, Plano Surgeon Suspended for Killing Patients, Gets Sued for Malpractice

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Dr. Christopher Duntsch
All things considered, Mary Efurd is one of the lucky ones. She walked into Dr. Christopher Duntsch's Texas Neurosurgery Institute in Plano on July 25, 2012 and emerged with her life. The same can't be said at least two of his former patients, who died after Dunstch botched their surgeries, according to the Texas Medical Board.

Still, Efurd doesn't feel particularly lucky. She went in for a posterior lumbar interbody fusion, a rather routine procedure that eases pain caused by stopping the motion between two vertebrae. She came out in a wheelchair and with thousands of dollars in medical bills from surgery to fix Duntsch's mistakes.

There were 38 mistakes to be exact, according to a lawsuit Efurd filed this week in Dallas County court, most significantly when he severed an important spinal nerve with a screw. This left Efurd with bilateral foot drop and quadriceps that were partially paralyzed. She is now mostly confined to a wheelchair, she says in her lawsuit.

See also

-Authorities Say a Plano Neurosurgeon Killed, Paralyzed and Left Sponges Inside Patients

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Mary Efurd
Surgeons, just like everyone else, make mistakes, but Efurd, like the Texas Medical Board before her, says Duntsch's negligence was beyond the pale. The lawsuit describes the scene of her surgery:

Medical personnel in the operating room with Dr. Duntsch voiced their concerns about his care and treatment of Ms. Efurd, but Dr. Duntsch did not listen to or respond to their concerns. In addition, concerns were raised by the operating room team that Dr. Duntsch seemed to be "distracted" and "disoriented." At one point, he broke scrub and left the operating room. When he returned to the OR, witnesses observed him to have "lost focus." In addition, certain personnel who were in the operating room with Dr. Duntsch commented that one explanation for his behavior may have been that he was under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.

When it became clear that he'd messed up, Efurd says Duntsch wanted to take her back into surgery to fix his mistakes. But then his hospital admitting privileges at Dallas Medical Center Hospital were revoked, and a Dallas surgeon, Dr. Robert Henderson, performed the procedure. He offers a 13-page letter, which is included with the suit, enumerating Duntsch's many mistakes and reiterating suspicions that he was either drunk or high.

Efurd is seeking unspecified damages from Duntsch, whose medical license was indefinitely suspended by the state of Texas this week. Nor will she probably be the last of Duntsch's patients to do so.

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11 comments
diannacolbert
diannacolbert

Hello Terri can you email me at diannacolbert at yahoo

terriharrel
terriharrel

This is the doctor that operated on my sister Kellie Martin, pictured in the news story, at Baylor Plano March 12, 2012. She was not the first to suffer serious injuries at Baylor Plano but he was still allowed to operate on her, resulting in her death. As I look at these photos of Dr. Duntsch from Facebook it appears that he has hit rock bottom no longer even resembling a surgeon. I found some poems that he self-published on the internet. He has published some as recently as 13 days ago. As he writes about lost youth, lost love, and moonbeams so eloquently I wonder does he ever think about the pain he has caused? Why not write about the children that will marry without their mother present, spouses that will struggle daily to put one foot in front of another without their soul mates, elderly parents that face the pain of losing a child, siblings that will live each day without their best friend to talk to, holidays, birthdays, grandchildren that will never know their grandparents. The pain is “ to the moon and back”…so why not write about that if he has any remorse?

betsycamp
betsycamp

We need laws preventing women from choosing their neurosurgeons so poorly. 

likearadiowave
likearadiowave

@terriharrel  i'm very sorry. Unfortunately sociopaths have no empathy ... he's just a heartless monster. Karma will get him soon, don't worry.

hopeharmon
hopeharmon

I'm so sorry. This is unbelievably disturbing. He is a monster. He has a twitter page that people should be warned about. I just googled it after reading an article about him. He needs to be in prison. What he did was heinous and unthinkable. I too read these poems. They remind me of something a 16 year old would write. I can't express how sad I

am for you and your family. What a tragic unnecessary loss.

http://www.poetry.com/poems/1042654

Gigi
Gigi

Really? So women are not capable of making their own choices so your "small" government has to dictate every single decision women making? What is wrong with you? Been under the thumb of a man too long? Or did the TX sun fry your brain? And I bet you vote repuke as well since you don't believe that women can make any decisions. This is a case of a sociopath whom I am sure operated on men as well. So why don't you direct your silly comment to men as well? Lady get educated.

yjumplink
yjumplink

Besty, I came within one week of this doctor operating on me. I found him by attending a seminar hosted by the highly reputable Baylor Medical. His resume was impreccable. There was no way to know he was incompetent. My first clue was when he began stuttering on the phone, and unbeknown to be, had already lost privileges at Baylor. It was a red flag as to me as to why he left Baylor. I immediately called someone else for a second opinion and am so glad I did! I found out later he had lost privileges by then at 2 hospitals. It is a crime that someone with this kind of drug problem could get hospital privileges at THREE hospitals before he was taken down!

JackJett
JackJett

@ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul And that is if they can find an attorney to take the case.  Many will not touch a Texas case because Perry et al have made litigation a bad word.

It would be great to find a study how many Docs in Texas are getting away with murder.

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