Minnesota Neurosurgeon Accused of Making Wrong Medical Call

Minnesota Neurosurgeon Accused of Making Wrong Medical CallA neurosurgeon on trial for medical malpractice was accused of making a blatantly wrong decision in a “common-sense” situation, the Duluth News Tribune reports.

In the case of former Duluth neurosurgeon Stefan Konasiewicz, another neurosurgeon from Illinois testified that Konasiewicz’s patient showed clear signs of a stroke and it should have been a common sense decision not to operate.

Jurors are hearing the case against Konasiewicz that alleges that the surgeon performed an unnecessary brain biopsy on then 74-year-old Alan Meinershagen. The farmer came to the St. Luke’s Hospital in February 2006 with weakness and numbness in his left arm.

In his medical malpractice lawsuit, Meinershagen alleges that he was concerned he had suffered a stroke, but the neurosurgeon thought he had a brain tumor. Allegedly, as a result of the brain biopsy, Meinershagen experienced severe cerebral dysfunction and brain injury, leaving him with permanent cognitive defects, speech impairment and an inability to walk.

Meinershagen’s attorney told jurors that he was asking for more than $1 million in damages for healthcare, loss of wages and to make up for the lifestyle he once lived.

The attorney also argues that Konasiewicz rushed to the operating room to perform an invasive, unnecessary procedure when more MRI and CT scans would have shown the signs of a stroke.

Attorneys working in defense of the doctor and the hospital told jurors that Meinershagen was given a document that informed him of the risks involved in the brain biopsy and the alternative treatments. The document also stated that there were no guarantees that the procedure would be successful.

However, the neurosurgeon called in as an expert in the case said in court that a diagnosis of a stroke should have been made.

“You could make this diagnosis and you haven’t gone to medical school,” the surgeon stated to one of the attorneys, according to the news source.

According to the Stroke Center at the Stanford School of Medicine, many methods are used by doctors to diagnose a stroke. Diagnoses of strokes typically are aided by a computerized tomography scan, or CT scan. This fast test is generally the first performed after a stroke is suspected.

Magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, is also usually performed on a potential stroke patient. This test provides a highly detailed picture of the body and can be used to precisely locate the stroke and the extent of damage.

Other methods used in diagnosing strokes can include magnetic resonance angiography, carotid duplex scanning and a transcranial doppler.