The Law Offices of James S. Rogers currently represents client TM following two brain surgeries Dr. Johnny Delashaw of Swedish Hospital performed on her.
TM lives in Soldotna, Alaska and suffered from serious migraines for several years, as well as blurry vision and other symptoms. TM was ultimately diagnosed with a brain aneurism, and was referred to Swedish Hospital in Seattle to be operated on by neurosurgeon Dr. Delashaw. Swedish had recruited Dr. Delashaw in 2013 based on his reputation as a “workhorse surgeon”, despite the fact that he had been dogged by an internal investigation about the quality of his care at his prior position.
Dr. Delashaw performed the surgery on TM’s aneurism in early 2014, conducting the more invasive “clipping” procedure, rather than the much less invasive “coiling” procedure. Unbeknownst to TM, the location and shape of her aneurism meant that it could have been surgically treated through the “coiling” method. The “clipping” procedure involved removing a portion of TM’s skull to access the aneurism, whereas the “coiling” method could have treated the aneurism through a flexible catheter which would not have necessitated the removal of a part of TM’s skull. As this Seattle Times article recounts, patients who undergo the more invasive “clipping” procedure spend twice as much time in the hospital postoperatively than those who benefit from the “coiling” procedure and have a significantly longer recovery time. Investigations have revealed that after Dr. Delahsaw was hired by Swedish in 2013, the rates of the “clipping” procedures dramatically increased above the statewide average. The invasive surgical nature of the “clipping” procedure allowed Swedish and Dr. Delashaw to charge significantly more for TM’s surgery.
Following the first surgery Dr. Delashaw performed, TM was cleared by Swedish to fly home to Alaska. On the flight home, TM developed significant postoperative complications from the pressure changes during the flight and also developed an infection on the surgical site. Once the flight landed, she was immediately rushed to a nearby emergency room where she learned that the infection may have developed during the “clipping” procedure. TM then had to undergo additional surgical interventions to attempt to address the damage that Dr. Delashaw had caused in the first surgery.
In 2015, Dr. Delashaw traveled to Alaska to perform a skull reconstruction surgery on TM, which was necessary in the wake of the “clipping” procedure he performed at Swedish. Like the ones before it, Dr. Delashaw’s last surgery on TM was not successful and she continues to suffer from daily debilitating pain.
Recent Seattle Times articles have exposed a pattern and practice of Dr. Delashaw and Swedish placing patient care in jeopardy in their pursuit of profits. In the wake of these revelations, both the CEO of Swedish and Dr. Delashaw have resigned. In addition, Dr. Delashaw has had his license to practice medicine suspended by the Washington State Medical Quality Assurance Commission and Swedish’s Interim CEO has confirmed that the U.S. Attorney’s Office has launched an investigation of Swedish Hospital.
Following these events, the Seattle Times has continued to investigate Swedish,uncovering evidence that several neurosurgeons there routinely ran two operating rooms at the same time. The practice of running two operating rooms at the same time is referred to as “overlapping surgeries” and allowed Swedish to increase the numbers of surgeries their doctors did per day, greatly increasing the amount of billings Swedish could generate. According to the Seattle Time article, these patients were unaware that the neurosurgeon they thought was conducting their complicated surgery was actually only doing a small part of it, handing the rest of the surgery off to a less experienced doctor. These patients indicated that they would not have consented to being operated on if they had known that their neurosurgeon might not be doing the entire surgery. Each of the patients featured in the Seattle Times article had significant post-surgical complications that included difficulty in lifting their head, stinging hand pain and a 41 day stay in the hospital following the “overlapping” surgical procedure.
The Seattle Times article indicates that four prominent Swedish neurosurgeons, Dr. Delashaw, Dr. Rod Oskouian, Dr. David Newell and Dr. Jens Chapman, ran multiple operating rooms during more than half of their surgical cases between 2014-2016. In the case of Dr. Delashaw, 62% of his surgeries “overlapped” between 2014 and 2016. Similarly, 70% of Dr. Oskouian’s surgeries “overlapped” in the same time period. In 2015, Dr. Delashaw generated $76,538,699 in billings for Swedish, and Dr. Oskouian generated $78,393,520 in billings for Swedish. Following the publicity of their practice of “overlapping surgeries”, Swedish has begun testing a revised patient consent form that more explicitly mentions the prospect of “overlapping surgery.”
The attorneys at the Law Offices of James S. Rogers are experienced in investigating surgical malpractice. If you or someone you know has been injured, please contact our office and we will review your case and provide a free consultation. For more information, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org