Spyros Panos, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon from Dutchess County, New York, may face 100 new medical malpractice claims in the coming months. In some instances, it is claimed that Dr. Panos performed unnecessary surgeries on patients without obtaining their consent. In others, patients claim that Dr. Panos performed “phantom” procedures. Dr. Spanos is already a named defendant in 10 pending medical malpractice actions. Some of those cases arise from Dr. Panos performing surgery, but intentionally failing to treat his patients’ problems.
Earlier this summer, Dr. Panos’ employer, Mid Hudson Medical Group, fired him, because he failed to meet its “professional standards.” Dr. Panos was also one of Mid Hudson Medical Group’s shareholders. Even more shocking, Vassar Brothers Medical Center, one of the hospitals where Dr. Panos held privileges, asked its employees to contact its legal department if they had any questions, concerns, or information about Dr. Panos’ practice habits. Since Dr. Panos’ termination, lawyers in Dutchess County, New York have begun investigating other cases in which Dr. Panos’ patients had poor outcomes, or where Dr. Panos failed to perform the surgery that he said that he was going to do.
In one particular case, a patient went to Dr. Panos because of shoulder problems. Dr. Panos then performed a “shoulder reconstruction.” When the patient’s problems did not improve, she sought a second opinion from another doctor, who performed a series of x-rays. Those x-rays, however, showed no evidence whatsoever that Dr. Panos performed a shoulder reconstruction, such as screws, anchor, or a fixation device. The patient also claims that Dr. Panos injured her nerves during the surgery, and, that as a result, she now has permanent hand numbness, and problems grasping things.
In another case, a patient presented to Dr. Panos due to knee pain. The patient signed a consent form, which provided that Dr. Panos was going to insert an arthroscope (a surgical camera) into the patient’s knee, and remove any dead or damaged tissue. The form also provided that the patient consented to undergoing any “additional operations” that Dr. Panos considered necessary. During that procedure, however, Dr. Panos performed a total of six procedures. However, Dr. Panos never explained the risks, benefits, and alternatives to those procedures. The patient subsequently died from a pulmonary embolism, which is a blood clot in the lung. The patient’s family now claims that those six procedures caused the fatal blood clot.
Some of Dr. Panos’ other patients believe that he performed too many surgeries on a given day. Others claim that Dr. Panos spent only two or three minutes examining them before recommending surgery, or prescribing medication.
These claims are not unique to Dr. Panos, or Dutchess County, New York. In today’s current climate, physicians and other healthcare providers are instructed to see, or operate upon, as many patients as possible, in order to maximize profits. However, that approach runs contrary to the Hippocratic oath (“Do no harm”), and does not advance patient care.