Top N.Y. neurosurgeons suspended, sued

Heidi Evans of the New York Daily News has followed the story of a pair of embattled New York neurosurgeons, high profile doctors who earned a combined $10 million a year, since the story broke on May 6. The North Shore University Hospital surgeons, Thomas Milhorat and Paolo Bolognese, were recently suspended for what Evans described as “abandoning a patient in the operating room after she was anesthetized and prepped for brain surgery” and are the target of a lawsuit alleging they used experimental treatments that may have made some patients’ conditions worse. Milhorat, the state’s highest-paid surgeon, has since retired from dealing with patients and moved to full-time research duty.

Evans’ coverage has been persistent and thorough:

Some background, from Evans’ first story:

The (two-week suspension for both doctors) came a week after the disturbing April 10 incident when Bolognese was scheduled to operate on a female patient, sources told the Daily News.

Frantic staff looked for him, but he was nowhere to be found.

The patient’s head was shaved, anesthesia had been administered and she was laying out cold on the OR table near a table of sterilized instruments waiting to be used. Milhorat was then called, but he refused to do the surgery because the patient wasn’t his.

No other surgeon apparently was available, and the surgery did not take place.

The doctors founded the hospital’s Chiari Institute, dedicated to the treatment of a rare brain condition. Their suspension and Milhorat’s resignation have incited strong reactions on both sides, with Evans’ story about Milhorat’s son representing one extreme and a story about the ‘devastated’ Idaho family of a 4-year-old patient representing the other. The stories’ comment sections are all worth a read, as they help illustrate the passion of the debate. Dozens of former patients and their families express support for the surgeons and question Evans and those commenters whose support for the doctors isn’t so evident.

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