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Neurosurgeon accused of unnecessary surgeries, wrongful death

On Behalf of | Nov 15, 2022 | Medical Malpractice

In many medical malpractice cases, the issue is that doctors were negligent and didn’t provide the right level of care. But you also have cases where doctors will intentionally do things that are not in the best interests of their patients.

Such is the case of Dr. Daniel Elskens, who spent years working as a neurosurgeon. This began in Michigan, where he was first accused of carrying out unnecessary surgeries. He soon relocated to Washington State, working at Providence Hospital. The unnecessary surgeries did not stop, however, and there was a $22.7 million settlement that was reached.

After the fallout in Washington, Dr. Elskens relocated to Sandusky, Ohio. He was working there until earlier this summer, in June of 2022, when news of the settlement and the unneeded surgeries broke, and his practice had to stop.

Financial incentives

The reason for the unnecessary surgeries, as one may expect, was money. Many hospitals are set up so that doctors, or in this case Dr. Elskens, would be financially rewarded for carrying out a greater number of complex spine surgeries. This led to a very high volume of these cases, and the suspicion that many of the people who were getting the surgery didn’t actually need it. One of the doctors involved in the case earned nearly $3 million in a single year.

Wrongful death charges

If this pattern of issues was not enough, Dr. Elskens is now being charged with wrongful death. He was carrying out a lateral anterior interbody fusion procedure on a woman in Ohio. The lawsuit claims that he cut her abdominal aorta. This is a major blood vessel, and the woman tragically bled out as a result of this mistake.

Reports claim that this blood vessel should have been moved aside prior to the surgery being carried out on the woman’s spine, as she was seeking relief for lower back pain. It is unclear why this was not done and why the aorta would’ve been in a position to be severed but the ramifications are very clear.

Exploring your options

Those who have lost a loved one due to medical negligence, or who have suffered from life-altering ramifications themselves, must be aware of all of the legal options at their disposal.


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