Minnesota Neurosurgeon Settles Another Lawsuit Outside Court

Minnesota Neurosurgeon Settles Second Lawsuit in One Month Outside CourtAfter being found not negligent in an earlier medical malpractice trial, former Duluth neurosurgeon Stefan Konasiewicz has settled another malpractice case outside of court, with the terms of the settlement undisclosed, the Duluth News Tribune reports.

Konasiewicz and St. Luke's Hospital were accused of negligence by Ted and Donna Youker after Ted Youker allegedly suffered permanent injury to his spinal cord during an operation led by Dr. Konasiewicz, according to the news source.

A seven-day trial was expected to begin in St. Louis County District Court in Duluth on September 20 in front of Judge John DeSanto, but was recently "mutually and satisfactorily resolved," outside of court, according to the Youkers' attorney.

Konasiewicz has been the focus of two malpractice claims before, both of which went to trial. However, this is not the first lawsuit brought against him that the hospital has settled outside the courtroom. Between 2005 and 2008, five malpractice lawsuits were filed against Konasiewicz, which were settled for a total of at least $3.2 million, the news provider stated.

The Tribune reports that court documents show Youker originally sought treatment for a work-related accident that injured his neck in 2002, in which a roof collapsed on him after a jack failed to support the load. Surgery was performed on June 6, 2006, by Konasiewicz.

After the surgery, Youker claimed he felt weakness and numbness that was not present prior to the operation, and was experiencing limited dexterity in his hands. An MRI image taken after the surgery showed "permanent disabling neurological deficits," the court documents stated.

In Minnesota, a malpractice complaint must be accompanied by an affidavit from a medical expert that addresses the standard of care specific to the medical procedure in question, as well as the manner in which the plaintiff alleges the physician breached the standard of care, and a detailed report on the link between the patient's injury and the alleged breach of care, according to the Tribune.

Youker's affidavit was provided by Dr. James Macon, who found that there were two possible ways in which Konasiewicz did not adhere to the standard of care, stating that the spinal cord may have come in contact with surgical equipment, or an MRI was not taken immediately after surgery, which could have identified the problem earlier.