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Hudson Valley orthopedic surgeon faces multiple malpractice suits

A former Poughkeepsie, New York, orthopedic surgeon who is facing multiple medical malpractice lawsuits performed a stunning number of surgeries -- an average of 17 a day. This is based on surgical logs obtained by multiple sources.

The surgeon, who was fired from a local medical group in 2011, has had 261 lawsuits since 2009 for botched, ineffective, or unnecessary operations, and more. In some cases, according to plaintiffs, the records show surgeries that did not take place. They say surgical logs indicate that sometimes he put people under anesthesia, but did not do surgery. Two attorneys say they have logs indicating that he performed multiple procedures in less than eight minutes. Plaintiffs also allege that he billed them for procedures he did not perform. Records obtained by the Poughkeepsie Journal corroborate the numbers found by the attorneys -- as many as 22 in one day. By comparison, the average orthopedic surgeon performs 32 procedures in a month, according to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.

The surgeon, however, is not the only one being held liable. Many of the suits also name the medical facility where the surgery was performed for lack of oversight in failing to question or limit the number of procedures the doctor performed, and in some cases for ignoring concerns voiced by staff members. Several area medical facilities are named in the lawsuits. Plaintiffs' attorneys say the surgical logs are proof that others knew what he was doing, and did nothing to stop it.

One former patient who is suing the surgeon for a surgical error says that he spent little time talking to him before the surgery, and none afterwards. Surgeons note that part of the reason they can only do just a few surgical procedures a day is because they need to spend time with the patient and their family both before and after the operation.

Attorneys who specialize in medical malpractice law, like the ones in this case, can uncover evidence that can show a pattern that is much larger than the claims of their individual clients. Just as medical facilities should oversee the actions of their medical staffs, patients who believe they have suffered from medical negligence or malpractice should contact an attorney to determine to what extent the staff and/or facility can be held accountable.

Source:  Poughkeepsie Journal, "ICYMI: Spyros Panos averaged 17 surgeries per day" Sarah Bradshaw, Jul. 22, 2013

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