Found 327 Results Sorted by Case Date
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California – Neurology – Lack Of Documentation When Diagnosing Neuropathic Pain, RLS, and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome With Normal Neurological Examination



A 43-year-old male was referred by his primary care physician to a neurologist for multiple medical issues, including obesity, chronic post-operative pain following lumbar spine surgery, major depressive disorder, familial tremor, shoulder pain, excessive daytime sleepiness, congestive heart failure, and peripheral neuropathy.  The patient had been on Norco and was switched to Tramadol. The dose of Tramadol was 100 mg 4 times a day. Other medications were trazodone 100 mg h.s., zolpidem 10 mg h.s., HCTZ 25 mg, Lasix 40 mg, Flomax 0.5 mg, and topiramate 100 mg twice daily.

On 3/27/2014, the neurologist saw the patient for an office visit.  The patient complained of symptoms of foot pain, burning, and restless leg syndrome (RLS) symptoms.  The neurologist diagnosed neuropathic pain, RLS, obesity, carpal tunnel syndrome, low back pain, and tremor.  She planned to do B12 and ferritin levels, and she recommended an EMG/NCV of both upper and lower extremities.  The neurologist noted a normal neurological examination. Despite the normal neurological examination, the neurologist failed to keep adequate documentation to establish her multiple diagnoses.  She coded the visit as a level 5 new patient evaluation. The neurologist failed to document her 14-point review of systems and other required examinations to substantiate level 5 billing.

During a subsequent interview with the Medical Board, the neurologist initially stated that she had no recollection of the patient.  Her medical report timed the office visit at 9:15, and the encounter ended at 11:11 a.m., approximately 2 hours. She stated that she spent 40 minutes with him.  She could not account for the other time. She stated that “the rest was not me” and that she did not know what the time was “in between.” The patient claimed that she asked him only to stand and to try to stand on his heels and to squeeze her fingers.  When asked why she ordered the EMG, she answered, “For neuropathy versus radiculopathy versus carpal tunnel syndrome could have CDIP.” She did not know what a Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System (CURES) report was.

The Medical Board of California judged that the neurologist’s conduct departed from the standard of care because she failed to keep accurate, timely, complete medical records to support her diagnoses, coded and billed for level 5 services not substantiated in her records, and was not aware of CURES reports and did not utilize it in her practice.

For this case and others, the Medical Board of California placed the neurologist on probation and ordered the neurologist to complete a medical record keeping course, a professionalism program (ethics course), an education course (at least 40 hours per year for each year of probation), and a clinical training program equivalent to the Physician Assessment and Clinical Education Program offered at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine.  The neurologist was assigned a practice monitor and was prohibited from supervising physician assistants and advanced practice nurses.

State: California


Date: January 2018


Specialty: Neurology


Symptom: Extremity Pain, Back Pain, Joint Pain, Psychiatric Symptoms


Diagnosis: Neurological Disease


Medical Error: Lack of proper documentation, Procedural error


Significant Outcome: N/A


Case Rating: 1


Link to Original Case File: Download PDF



Florida – General Surgery – Right Colectomy Of The Patient’s Ascending Colon Instead Of A Left Colectomy Of The Descending Colon



A 49-year-old female presented to a general surgeon for a colonoscopy.  During the colonoscopy the general surgeon documented a 25mm polyp in the patient’s descending colon.  Due to its size, the general surgeon was only able to partially resect the polyp.  He placed a hemostatic clip to prevent bleeding and tattooed the area.

The patient was subsequently referred to the general surgeon for surgical resection of the left colon.

On 7/15/2015, the patient presented to the general surgeon for a preoperative history and physical.  On 7/15/2015, the general surgeon documented that a doctor incompletely resected a polyp in the patient’s colon, and identified the planned procedure as a right colectomy.

On 7/20/2016, the patient presented to the general surgeon at a community hospital.  On 7/20/2016, the general surgeon performed a right colectomy of the patient’s ascending colon.

The Board judged that the general surgeon’s conduct to be below the minimum standard of competence given that he performed a wrong-site procedure when he performed a right colectomy of the patient’s ascending colon instead of a left colectomy of her descending colon.

The Board ordered the general surgeon to pay a fine of $4,015.23.  The general surgeon was ordered to complete five hours of continuing medical education in “Risk Management.”  Also, the Board ordered that the general surgeon present a one hour lecture/seminar on wrong site and/or wrong procedures to medical staff at an approved medical facility.

State: Florida


Date: December 2017


Specialty: General Surgery


Symptom: N/A


Diagnosis: Gastrointestinal Disease


Medical Error: Wrong site procedure


Significant Outcome: N/A


Case Rating: 2


Link to Original Case File: Download PDF



Florida – Anesthesiology – Wrong Site Procedure For A Transforaminal Epidural Steroid Injection



On 4/28/2015 an 80-year-old female, presented to an anesthesiologist for an initial consultation for possible epidural steroid injections.  On 4/28/2015, the patient had a history of left sided lower back pain and left lower extremity pain.

On 4/28/2015, the anesthesiologist scheduled the patient for a left transforaminal epidural steroid injection (TFESI) to be performed on 4/29/2015.

On 4/29/2015, the patient presented to the anesthesiologist at outpatient surgery and laser center for the planned left TFESI.  On 4/29/2015, the patient and anesthesiologist signed a consent form for a left TFESI.  After the patient was prepped for the procedure, the anesthesiologist performed a TFESI on the patient’s right side (the wrong site).  While the patient was still in the procedure room, the anesthesiologist was informed that he performed the TFESI on the incorrect side.  The anesthesiologist then performed a TFESI on the patient’s left side (the correct site).

The anesthesiologist’s procedure report on 4/29/2015 procedures did not accurately document the anesthesiologist’s performance of TFESI procedures on two different sides of the patient.

The Board ordered the anesthesiologist to pay a fine of $5,000 against his license.  Also, the Board ordered that the anesthesiologist pay reimbursement costs of $5,857.63.  The Board ordered that the anesthesiologist complete a medical records course.  The Board ordered that the anesthesiologist complete five hours of continuing medical education on “Risk Management.”  Also, the Board ordered the anesthesiologist to complete a one hour lecture on wrong site surgeries to medical staff at an approved site.

State: Florida


Date: December 2017


Specialty: Anesthesiology, Neurology


Symptom: Pain


Diagnosis: Spinal Injury Or Disorder


Medical Error: Wrong site procedure, Lack of proper documentation


Significant Outcome: N/A


Case Rating: 2


Link to Original Case File: Download PDF



Florida – Neurosurgery – Wrong Site Procedure When Performing Surgery On A Subdural Hematoma



On 11/6/2016, a 61-year-old female presented to the emergency department, suffering from confusion and weakness after a fall.  A CT scan revealed that the patient had a large, left-sided subdural hematoma.

That same day, a neurosurgeon was asked to evaluate the patient.  The neurosurgeon correctly documented that the patient was suffering from a left-sided subdural hematoma.  The neurosurgeon further documented his intention to remove a blood clot from the left side of the patient’s subdural space.

Shortly thereafter, the patient was brought to the operating room and preparations were begun for a left-sided craniotomy.  However, at some point during the preparation process, the patient’s head was turned and the neurosurgeon began to operate on the right side.

After the neurosurgeon made an incision through the skin, he removed a bone flap and punctured the dura mater on the right side of the patient’s brain.  The neurosurgeon realized that he was operating on the incorrect side.  The neurosurgeon closed the operating site and proceeded to perform the correct procedure.

It was requested that the Board order one or more of the following penalties for the neurosurgeon:  permanent revocation or suspension of his license, restriction of practice, imposition of an administrative fine, issuance of a reprimand, probation, corrective action, payment of fees, remedial education, and/or any other relief that the Board deemed appropriate.

State: Florida


Date: December 2017


Specialty: Neurosurgery


Symptom: Confusion, Weakness/Fatigue


Diagnosis: Intracranial Hemorrhage, Trauma Injury


Medical Error: Wrong site procedure


Significant Outcome: N/A


Case Rating: 3


Link to Original Case File: Download PDF



Florida – Orthopedic Surgery – Documentation Error Of Laceration Of Flexor Pollicis Longus Leads To Wrong Site Surgery



On 5/16/2014, a patient presented to an orthopedic outpatient surgery center with a left-hand work-related injury.  During the visit, an orthopedic surgeon properly diagnosed the patient with a flexor pollicis longus (FPL) tendon laceration of her left thumb.

The FPL tendon laceration was confirmed by the MRI scan performed on the patient on 7/3/2014.

On 8/7/2014, during the follow-up visit, the orthopedic surgeon wrongly documented the patient’s injury as an extensor pollicis longus (EPL) tendon laceration in the patient’s medical records

Consequently, on 9/10/2014, the patient presented to the orthopedic surgeon at the center, for an EPL tendon surgery (the wrong site, and/or medically unnecessary procedure) of her left thumb.  During the EPL tendon surgery, the orthopedic surgeon realized that the FPL tendon laceration repair should have been performed on the patient instead.  On 10/10/2014, the orthopedic surgeon performed the FPL tendon laceration repair on the patient’s left thumb.

The Board ordered the orthopedic surgeon pay a fine of $3,000 to the Board. Also, the Board ordered the orthopedic surgeon pay a reimbursement cost of $4,670.40.  The Board ordered that the orthopedic surgeon complete five hours of continuing medical education in “Risk Management.”  The Board ordered that the orthopedic surgeon complete one hour of lecture on wrong site procedure.

State: Florida


Date: December 2017


Specialty: Orthopedic Surgery


Symptom: N/A


Diagnosis: Musculoskeletal Disease, Trauma Injury


Medical Error: Wrong site procedure, Lack of proper documentation


Significant Outcome: N/A


Case Rating: 3


Link to Original Case File: Download PDF



Virginia – Neurosurgery – All-Terrain Vehicle Rollover Accident Causes L1 Compression Fracture



On 1/19/2008, a 32-year-old man suffered an L1 compression fracture following an all-terrain vehicle rollover accident.  He saw a neurosurgeon who placed him in a rigid back brace and prescribed pain medications.  The patient’s fracture appeared to be clinically stable and appeared to be improving.  The Board deemed the long-term risk of developing a kyphotic deformity low in this patient.

On 3/7/2008,  the neurosurgeon performed a kyphoplasty of the spine the patient.  During the kyphoplasty, the vertebral body was too dense to accept the cement.  As a consequence, the cement extruded out of the fracture plans into the epidural space.

The neurosurgeon addressed this complication by performing a posterior laminectomy and decompression of the thecal sac.  The Board stated that the laminectomy procedure subjected the patient to a far greater risk for development of kyphosis than had existed prior to the kyphoplasty.

The Board considered the surgery unwarranted and issued a reprimand.  The neurosurgeon was ordered to complete 10 hours of continuing medical education in the subject of patient selection for spinal surgery.

State: Virginia


Date: November 2017


Specialty: Neurosurgery


Symptom: Back Pain


Diagnosis: Spinal Injury Or Disorder, Fracture(s)


Medical Error: Unnecessary or excessive treatment or surgery, Procedural error


Significant Outcome: N/A


Case Rating: 5


Link to Original Case File: Download PDF



Florida – Interventional Radiology – Guidewire Found In Patient’s Abdomen Following CT-Guided Percutaneous Drainage



On 8/24/2015, a 63-year-old male presented to a medical center for a CT-guided percutaneous aspiration with possible drainage of an abdominal abscess.

During the course of the procedure, an interventional radiologist placed a guidewire into the operative field.  Once the procedure was completed the patient had stable vital signs and no immediate complications were known.

On 9/12/2015, the patient was re-admitted to the medical center with complaints of abdominal pain.  A subsequent CT scan revealed a foreign body on the left side of the patient’s abdomen.

On 9/15/2015, a general surgeon performed laparoscopic retrieval of the foreign body, at which time a portion of the guidewire, measuring 11.0 centimeters in length, was found and removed intact.

The Board ordered that the interventional radiologist pay a fine of $5,000 against his license and that the radiologist pay reimbursement costs for the case at a minimum of $4,737.16 and not to exceed $6,737.16.  The Board also ordered that the interventional radiologist complete five hours of continuing medical education in “Risk Management”  and that the interventional radiologist complete a one hour lecture/seminar on retained foreign body objects.

State: Florida


Date: November 2017


Specialty: Interventional Radiology


Symptom: Abdominal Pain


Diagnosis: Post-operative/Operative Complication, Acute Abdomen


Medical Error: Retained foreign body after surgery


Significant Outcome: Hospital Bounce Back


Case Rating: 2


Link to Original Case File: Download PDF



Florida – Internal Medicine – Retained Guide Wire Found After Replacement Of Dialysis Catheter



On 3/19/2015, a patient presented to a hospital with complaints of chest pain, history of acute stent thrombosis, and renal failure.

On 3/21/2015, a physician referred the patient to an internist for replacement of temporary dialysis catheter to address her acute kidney failure.  The internist placed a double-lumen dialysis catheter in the patient’s left subclavian vein.

Due to the catheter not functioning properly, another physician performed a catheter exchange procedure on the patient on 3/23/2015.  After the procedure, the inspection of the catheter revealed that the guide wire remained in one of the lumens of the catheter.

Neither the internist nor his staff removed the guide wire from the catheter prior to the insertion of the catheter into the patient’s left subclavian vein.

The Board judged the internist’s conduct to be below the minimum standard of competence given that he left a foreign body in a patient.

The Board ordered that the internist pay a fine of $3,500 against his license and pay reimbursement costs for the case for a minimum of $3,419.35 and not to exceed $5,419.35.  The Board also ordered that the internist complete five hours of continuing education in “Risk Management” and complete a lecture/seminar on retained foreign body objects to medical staff.

State: Florida


Date: November 2017


Specialty: Internal Medicine, Nephrology


Symptom: Chest Pain


Diagnosis: Renal Disease


Medical Error: Retained foreign body after surgery


Significant Outcome: N/A


Case Rating: 2


Link to Original Case File: Download PDF



Florida – Neurosurgery – Cervical Microdiscectomy At Levels C5/7 And C6/7 Instead Of Levels C4/5 And C5/6



On 11/17/2014, a patient presented to a neurosurgeon for an anterior cervical microdiscectomy for decompression with allograft fusion at cervical levels C4/5 and C5/6.  During the procedure, it was discovered that the initial localization x-ray was misinterpreted and that the neurosurgeon performed the fusion at cervical levels C5/7 and C6/7 instead of cervical levels C4/5 and C5/6.  After the neurosurgeon discovered the error, he proceeded to perform the fusion at the correct cervical levels, C4/5 and C5/6.

The Board judged the neurosurgeons conduct to be below the minimum standard of competence given that he performed the procedure on the wrong site.

The Board ordered that the neurosurgeon pay a fine of $5,000 against his license and pay reimbursement costs of a minimum of $1,859.22 but not to exceed $3,859.22.  The Board also ordered that the neurosurgeon complete five hours of continuing medical education in “Risk Management” and complete a one hour lecture/seminar on wrong site surgeries.

State: Florida


Date: November 2017


Specialty: Neurosurgery


Symptom: N/A


Diagnosis: Spinal Injury Or Disorder


Medical Error: Wrong site procedure


Significant Outcome: N/A


Case Rating: 1


Link to Original Case File: Download PDF



Florida – Vascular Surgery – Arteriogram Performed On A Patient’s Right Leg Instead Of The Left Leg



On 8/15/2016, a patient presented to a vascular surgeon with peripheral vascular disease, a non-healing ulcer on his left third toe tip, and diminished arterial blood flow in both legs.

Based on his initial evaluation, the vascular surgeon determined that a left leg arteriogram was necessary.

On 8/18/2016, the patient’s family consented to a left leg arteriogram and the vascular surgeon pre-operatively marked the patient’s left and correctly performed a timeout.

After the vascular surgeon performed the timeout, he performed a right leg arteriogram instead of the planned left leg arteriogram.

The Board judged the vascular surgeon’s conduct to be below the minimal standard of competence given that he performed a wrong-site procedure by performing an arteriogram on the patient’s right leg (wrong site) instead of the patient’s left leg (correct site).

It was requested that the Board order one or more of the following penalties for the vascular surgeon: permanent revocation or suspension of his license, restriction of practice, imposition of an administrative fine, issuance of a reprimand, probation, corrective action, payment of fees, remedial education, and/or any other relief that the Board deemed appropriate.

State: Florida


Date: October 2017


Specialty: Vascular Surgery


Symptom: N/A


Diagnosis: Cardiovascular Disease


Medical Error: Wrong site procedure


Significant Outcome: N/A


Case Rating: 2


Link to Original Case File: Download PDF



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