Americans generally see Florida as one of the nation’s best loved vacation destinations rather than as the cutting-edge locale for experimental medical technology. So perhaps the news of a Florida doctor carrying out stem-cell transplants may come as an atypical shock.

However, the doctor’s transplants and experiments were not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and he was subject to reprimand. Nevertheless, the doctor continued despite having his medical license suspended because of his unorthodox practice. Now, he is the defendant in a medical malpractice lawsuit brought against him by the State of Florida.

The undisputed facts in the case are such that a breast-cancer survivor, age 69, had approached the doctor to see if neurological damage from chemotherapy could be reversed. The doctor carried out a procedure on the woman, but hours later she suffered a fall at. Subsequent CAT scans revealed considerable brain swelling. The woman may have also suffered a hemorrhagic/ischemic stroke. In less than a month, the decision was made to remove life support and the woman died.

The state’s lawsuit alleges that the doctor used an experimental technique employing stem-cells, and suggests that this was the proximate cause of death. The doctor disputes this version of events and has asserted that he only conducted a ‘bone marrow aspiration’ — a procedure where marrow is drawn from the bone and then injected into the carotid artery so that the brain’s blood vessels may have ‘support’. Wherever the truth lies, the doctor’s insurer settled with the deceased’s family, paying out $250,000.

Medical malpractice is not limited to experimental medicine; it can take other forms, such as leaving surgical instruments in a person’s body after surgery. When a person visits a doctor or enters a hospital seeking treatment, it is twice the shock when he or she ends up suffering medical deterioration instead.

Persons who are victims of medical or surgical errors are entitled to the pursue compensation for their suffering. In such instances, legal counsel specializing in medical malpractice may be an excellent resource for information and advice.

Source: The Naples News, “State medical hearing on Bonita Springs stem-cell doctor set for October,” Liz Freeman, Sept. 12, 2011