Every once in awhile a news story comes along that truly chills you to the bone. Unfortunately, that is case with an article published just last month. It tells a sobering tale about Dr. Christopher Duntsch, a clearly unqualified neurosurgeon who was consistently allowed to perform spinal cord surgeries on patients. The severity of the events that took place are extreme. Yet, they draw attention to the need for trustworthy advanced background checks on medical personnel.
Duntsch worked for four different hospitals around Dallas over the course of two years and had an abysmal surgical success rate. Out of the 38 patients he operated on, 31 wound up paralyzed or seriously injured. Sadly, two suffered fatal consequences. Despite these appalling statistics, Duntsch was able to stay employed before the Texas medical board ordered an investigation. As a result, his medical privileges were revoked. He was later sentenced to life in prison for multiple cases of aggravated assault causing serious bodily harm.
What makes this situation worse is that his surgical incompetence was compounded by an apparent history of drug and alcohol abuse. The article states:
…… Duntsch was allowed to operate on the spines of patients despite his “background of abuse of cocaine, LSD, hydrocodone and alcohol.” …… according to witnesses, Duntsch “had a gallon jug of vodka under his desk,” “swiped his surgical assistant’s narcotics” and “a bag of white powder was found in a baggie in his office bathroom.”
It is clear that given this level of information, no patient would want this man performing such delicate surgery. It’s hard to fathom how such an unsuited individual could find themselves in this position without anyone noticing or putting a stop to it.
Don’t Take Your Medical Background Checks Lightly
A thorough advanced background check could help your facility avoid a similar situation in the future. Partnering with an experienced employment screening service will not only add an extra layer of protection for your patients, but it will also wind up saving you money in the long run. Keep in mind, there is no such thing as being too thorough with a medical employee’s background check.