St. Louis Neurosurgeon Sued 50 Times For Malpractice


Posted on 11th May 2013 by gjohnson in Uncategorized

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Is Dr. Faisal Albanna a negligent neurosurgeon, or a target for medical malpractice lawsuits, because of the high-risk operations he performed?

That’s the question that the St. Louis Post-Dispatch took on in its profile of Albanna, an Iranian-born doctor who has been named as a defendant in roughly 50 lawsuits since 1987, including four wrongful death cases.

Right now Albanna, 60, says he is “disabled” and has stopped practicing medicine, the newspaper said. Earlier this year he filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection.

In the article, Albanna is credited with being a multimillion-dollar rainmaker for several St. Louis hospitals, in part by taking on difficult brain surgeries that other physicians wouldn’t touch.

The brain surgeon made news in 1998 when he saved a Jefferson County sheriff’s deputy who was in a coma after being shot in the forehead with a shotgun, the Post-Dispatch reported. Albanna carefully removed metal fragments from the deputy’s brain and repaired a “leak” in it caused by the metal.

The Post-Dispatch credited Albanna with an apt quote, saying the surgeon once compared fixing a brain aneurysm to “defusing a mine.”

But attorneys who have represented clients in medical malpractice cases against Albanna have a different story, the newspaper reported. They alleged that after surgery by Albanna their clients sustained nerve damage and had chronic pain. In one instance, Albanna performed surgery on a patient who needed a shunt, a tube, removed from his brain that was causing trouble.

That patient died just one day after Albanna did the surgery on him. Several neurosurgeons had refused to perform that surgery on the patient, claiming it was too risky. And a half dozen doctors, according to the Post-Dispatch, signed affidavits alleging that Albanna’s conduct “fell below the standard of care.”

Over the years in Missouri, the state medical board reprimanded Albanna a number of times for his unprofessional conduct. He was placed on probation in not only Missouri but Illinois and Pennsylvania. Yet hospitals continued to renew Albanna’s privileges, the Post-Dispatch reported.

Albanna’s defenders claim that as a surgeon in a high-risk specialty, cases that other doctors refused to take, it makes sense that he has been sued so many times.

But I have to agree with question posed by one attorney quoted in the story: “Why do hospitals let a guy like this on staff?” Indeed.