New York Brain Surgeons Abandon Patient in OR

Medical Malpractice

Two of New York‘s highest paid brain surgeons were suspended for two weeks for abandoning a patient in the operating room at North Shore University Hospital. Thomas Milhorat, who is the chief of neurosurgery at the hospital, and Paolo Bolognese are scheduled to be reinstated this week for the April 10 incident.

According to the hospital, the patient’s head was already shaved and she was under anesthesia, but no one could find Dr. Bolognese. Staff then called Dr. Milhorat, but he refused to operate on the patient because she wasn’t his.

The two doctors made millions last year and both head up the Chiari Institute, billed as “the world’s first comprehensive, multidisciplinary center” for those suffering from the brain disorder Chiari malformation. One would like to believe that Dr. Milhorat, who has been listed in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in the World, and New York magazine’s “The Best Doctors in New York” would live up to some of these listings and helped out the patient in the operating room. Dr. Bolognese hasn’t been practicing as long as Dr. Milhorat, but he’s the world’s leading expert in the field of laser Doppler flowmetry as applied to neuroscience. One would like to believe that someone touted as a world’s leader in something like this would simply abandon a patient who had been scheduled for surgery. Yet, it isn’t clear where Dr. Bolognese was at the time he was supposed to operate.

The two doctors are also at the center of three medical malpractice suits recently brought against them. They are accused of using Chiari Institute patients as guinea pigs for “research and financial gain.” One of the suits alleges they told the parents of a 12-year-old girl the surgery was going to be a “walk in the park,” but her condition has worsened since the surgery.

Ignoring or neglecting patients and using others as test subjects so you can buy another house in the Hamptons should result in more than a two week suspension and a lawsuit. While the lawsuits, if found in the plaintiffs’ favor, may sting, but not as bad as having to give up the medical license. Rather than slapping people like this on the wrist, exposing them as callous people who should not be trusted to practice medicine is the better route.