Jailed Plano neurosurgeon Christopher Duntsch will stand trial for allegations that he maimed multiple patients seven months later than originally planned. His trial date has been moved from June 27 to January 30, 2017, a Dallas County Court clerk confirmed, at the behest of his defense.
According to court filings, prosecutors have entered another 2,049 pages of medical records into evidence. The defense then requested a continuance to review the new information. Last month, a judge approved the motion and pushed the trial back to 2017. Duntsch has been jailed since July 21, 2015 on five counts of aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury and one count of injuring an elderly person.
The incidents that spurred the rare criminal charges occurred between July 2012 and June 2013, which was the month the Texas Medical Board revoked his license. He practiced at the Legacy Surgery Center of Frisco, Baylor Regional Medical Center of Plano, and University General Hospital Dallas. He’s accused of gross negligence among six patients, causing paralysis and death. As D Healthcare Daily reported earlier this year:
One indictment says he amputated a patient’s spinal nerve, causing paralysis. Another says he removed “an excess of bone” and cut the patient’s vertebral artery, “disregarding” the amount of blood she lost during surgery. That patient later died. A third indictment says Duntsch “knowingly selected and installed” a screw that was too long for the procedure, penetrating the patient’s major vein and again causing blood loss and damage to his nerve roots. The final count says Duntsch cut another patient’s esophagus, which left him struggling to eat and breathe, as well as the artery that supplies blood to the brain. He also is accused of leaving a sponge inside that patient, causing a severe infection.
In revoking his license, the Texas Medical Board ruled that he “violated the standard of care with respect to six patients.” He practiced in the Dallas area for three years, performing procedures at the Legacy Surgery Center of Frisco, Baylor Regional Medical Center of Plano, and University General Hospital Dallas. A civil lawsuit filed well before the criminal indictments allege that Baylor Plano brought him on despite reports from a former employer that suggested he was “an egomaniac, mentally ill, an alcoholic, drug addict, or a combination thereof.”