Medical Malpractice Complaints Not Listed on Hospital Board’s Site

Medical Malpractice Complaints Not Listed on Hospital Board's SiteIn 2006, Minnesota's Duluth News Tribune stated that pursuant to state and federal open record laws, "any and all documents containing or relating to complaints made to the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice about" Dr. Stefan Joseph Konasiewicz should be made public.

The board quickly responded stating that the information did not need to be made public under state privacy laws, and neither confirmed nor denied any legal complaints against the neurosurgeon.

However, documents show that Ellen Abare of Duluth filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against Konasiewicz before the request was made. The lawsuit alleged Abare, a fourth-year medical student at the University of Minnesota Medical School, went to Konasiewicz for what she was told would be a routine procedure to allay pain in her right forearm brought on by carpal tunnel.

Instead, Abare says, Konasiewicz removed a part of her nerve in the wrist, rendering her permanently disabled, court records show. After filing a lawsuit, she was given a settlement, however the amount was not placed in the court file.

Konasiewicz would go on to be sued nine times in the state, seven of which ended in settlements. Two suits allege he was responsible for the deaths of patients, according to the media outlet.

In only one case was a settlement publicly announced, when the family of 56-year-old Dianne Baumgardner was awarded $355,000 and stipulated that as part of the settlement, the number would be put in the court file.

"I just wanted [Konasiewicz] stopped," said Baumgardner’s husband.

According to NBC affiliate KRIS TV, one man in Texas whose back surgery was performed by Konasiewicz in 2011 was outraged to find out about the surgeon's history after the procedure had already been done.

Robin Griffin says he feels deceived because even before the procedure, he tried to search for any complaints against the doctor, but nothing turned up.