As Allegations Swirl, Baylor Plano Rejects Baldrige Award
'The Worst Surgeon They Had Ever Seen'
"Baylor Plano employees and other staff participating in surgeries with (Duntsch) witnessed a startling lack of surgical skill by Duntsch resulting in high blood loss, malpositioning of hardware, misuse of hardware, and other complications. Other doctors described Dr. Duntsch as 'dangerous' and 'the worst surgeon they had ever seen,' "the complaint says.
"Meanwhile the Baylor [Plano] defendants continued to actively promote Dr. Duntsch and encourage other physicians associated with the Baylor system to refer their patients to Dr. Duntsch… and pay for a marketing professional to promote Dr. Duntsch and his neurosurgery practice."
Baylor Plano's leadership at one point told Duntsch he could no longer operate and took him off of cases because of his behavioral issues and competence, but "inexplicably" the next day he was back in the operating room, the lawsuit claims.
Finally, the hospital in 2012 helped Duntsch, to move on, sending a letter of recommendation to Dallas Medical Center, which hired him to perform neurosurgery there.
"Therefore Dr. Duntsch was allowed to operate on even more unsuspecting victims at other hospitals and outpatient surgical centers throughout the metroplex,"
Dallas Medical Center revoked Duntsch's hospital privileges in July 2012.
If there is anything good to come out of this embarrassing disaster I hope it is this: Hospital and physician leaders need to take peer review processes much more seriously than is alleged they did in this case. And they need to report behavioral issues to the National Practitioner Data Bank so that dangerous doctors can be stopped before they hurt or kill.
Cheryl Clark is senior quality editor and California correspondent for HealthLeaders Media. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists.
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