Georgia Man Secures Bell Law Firm After Negligent Spine Surgery

ATLANTA – February 11, 2020 –Duane Cox secured Bell Law Firm to file a medical malpractice action in Fulton County against Atlanta Spine and Harvinder Bhatti, MD. According to the complaint filed in the lawsuit, in February of 2018, Dr. Bhatti performed an unnecessarily risky operation that hurt Duane’s spinal cord and left him with permanent, serious neurological injuries.

Duane first visited Dr. Bhatti to discuss surgery options for a calcified disc in his thoracic spine — the upper back, below the neck. Disc surgeries in that area of the spine are rare. Nonetheless, Dr. Bhatti led Duane to believe he had performed at least 20 thoracic discectomies in the past. Relying on Dr. Bhatti’s assurance about his expertise — which, according to the complaint — Duane agreed to move forward with the surgery.

Removing discs located in the upper back spine is more difficult than the more common lumbar discectomies. Surgeons generally approach an upper-back disc from the front or the sides, rather than from the back. The discs in your spine are in front of your spinal cord. So if a surgeon comes at a disc from the back, the surgical instruments have to go past the spinal cord — creating a serious risk of permanent injury to the spinal cord. Dr. Bhatti took the riskiest approach – from the back. And according to the complaint, Dr. Bhatti injured Duane Cox’s spinal cord.

In addition to harming Duane’s spinal cord, Dr. Bhatti failed to place a drain at the surgical site that would have prevented a hematoma from forming – another breach of the standard of care. A hematoma formed over the surgical site where it may have contributed to Duane’s injuries, by compressing his spine. Once aware of the hematoma, Dr. Bhatti waited approximately five and a half hours to evacuate the hematoma.

If Duane had not been misinformed and led to believe Dr. Bhatti was more experienced than he actually was, he would have sought out a surgeon qualified to perform a thoracic discectomy, according to the complaint. The lawsuit alleges that Dr. Bhatti acted negligently on multiple accounts, and that Duane suffers severe spinal cord damage as a result of that negligence.

Plaintiffs Duane and Sandy Cox seek compensatory damages, as well as damages for medical costs and other damages including physical, economic and emotional injuries.

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