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Surgeon performs wrong site surgery on patients' spinal cords

Surgery always has inherent risks involved with it. Houston surgical patients are alerted to these risks before having surgery so they can make the decision of whether they believe the surgery will help their medical condition. But sometimes, surgical errors happen causing unexpected injuries and even death to patients.

A neurosurgeon made famous by his book about his near-death experience was reprimanded by the Virginia Board of Medicine over two surgeries he performed. Dr. Eben Alexander, the author of "Proof of Heaven, A Neurosurgeon's Journey Into the Afterlife," has been on the New York Times bestseller list since October 2012. He has also been on television shows such as Good Morning America and Nightline among others talking about his near-death experience.

But, in a recent article in Esquire magazine, it was reported that Dr. Alexander had two spinal cord surgery errors in 2007. In both surgeries he operated on the wrong part of the spinal column and did not immediately report the wrong site surgery to one of the patients. At least one of the patients experienced continuing symptoms after the surgery. However, Dr. Alexander waited over three months before admitting the mistake to the patient. Dr. Alexander was fined by the medical board and ordered to go to training in ethics and professionalism. One of the patients also filed a lawsuit against him.

When a surgical error occurs due to a wrong site surgery, negligence by the physician is often the cause. Physicians who are found to be negligent should be held accountable for their mistakes. Compensation for victims of surgical errors can be recovered in these cases. A legal professional skilled in medical malpractice can help Houston victims and their families learn what their rights are.

Source: The News & Advance, "Neurosurgeon reprimanded by state board," Dave Thompson, July 28, 2013

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