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Surgeons put fecal bacteria in patients’ brains without approval

| Aug 30, 2013 | Surgical Errors

Medical professionals in New York and all throughout the nation are obligated to follow hospital protocol and provide their patients with the best standard of care possible. When they deviate from those standards, such as performing surgeries without the proper approvals, injury and death can ensue and a medical malpractice case may be sought.

State documents allege that two patients died and a third suffered severe damage after neurosurgeons performed an experimental brain surgery on each of them. The surgery, planting fecal bacteria in the patients’ brains, was meant to help fight the terminal brain tumors they had been diagnosed with. According to reports, the bacteria that caused acute infections in all three patients had never been tested on humans. 

The neurosurgeons were given the green light to perform the surgery once they obtained approvals from a review board and the FDA. Even though the consents were never received, the surgeons performed the operations anyway without alerting the investigational pharmacy. Furthermore, they failed to follow safety protocol prior to the surgery by not properly labeling the bacteria.

When the hospital’s administration found out that the surgeons operated on a patient without the proper approvals, the neurosurgeons were told to discontinue their efforts. However, they failed to follow the order to stop and went forward with two more experimental surgeries. Additionally, they failed to systematically explore the postoperative infections that ultimately damaged one and took the lives of two others.

It is unclear whether or not the patients themselves ever gave their consent to participate in a surgery that lacked the proper approvals and had never before been performed. 

Source: HealthLeaders Media, “Medical Errors at 10 CA Hospitals Draw Fines of $625K,” Cheryl Clark, August 21, 2013


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