Jury Selected for Latest Malpractice Case Against Spine Doctor
Former Cincinnati-based spine doctor Atiq Durrani, MD, fled the country in 2014, going to Pakistan after federal charges accused him of insurance fraud and performing unnecessary spine surgery on numerous unsuspecting patients. He had practiced at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and West Chester Hospital. Nearly 500 patients filed lawsuits against him for dire surgical outcomes and unnecessary procedures.
Durrani has also been accused of fraudulently charging Medicare for millions of dollars and was indicted on 46 federal charges regarding clinical and billing issues. He performed surgery using a product called PureGen outside of approved clinical use. He owned half the company.
A trial into the matter initially began without the spine doctor, but he appeared for a video deposition from overseas. Durrani now lives in Pakistan and works for Doctors Hospital, once again as a spine surgeon. He is able to still have full practice privileges.
The physician maintained that he recommended procedures to certain patients, although the surgeries were elective. He said his patients were given the option to take him up on his recommendations and that he presented them with all of the needed information to make an informed decision ahead of time.
Cathy Beil, of Boone County, was one of the former patients alleging the surgeon misled her about the need for surgery to relieve pain. Court documents indicated “Durrani convinced plaintiffs that if Cathy did not undergo surgery immediately, she would end up in a wheelchair.”
West Chester Hospital recently settled with more than 350 former patients, including Beil. The amount of the payout remains undisclosed.
Now, a jury has been seated for the latest medical malpractice case against Durrani. This lawsuit involves a young child, 14-year-old Carson Rutter, who was born with spina bifida and requires 24/7 care. Rutter’s parents claim his physical state is a result of unnecessary surgery performed on the boy which caused permanent damage.
“It was the first visit,” recalled Rutter’s mother, Christina, of the trust the family had put in Durrani. “He told us he would have to have surgery, that this was so severe that he would become paralyzed, that if he was in an accident or anything he would be paralyzed immediately.”
That first operation was not successful and resulted in six additional surgeries which were equally unsuccessful and have led to Rutter’s current state. Durrani has denied any wrongdoing.
Prospective jurors were asked about the reputation of Children’s Hospital, where the surgeries were performed, their personal experiences with doctors and how much sympathy they extend to people who experience back problems.
“You’re going to have to judge credibility,” said Fred Johnson, one of the attorneys from the Eric Deters law firm for the Rutter family. “And we all do that naturally.”
Those selected are expected to hear at least two weeks of testimony from multiple expert witnesses. They will also hear directly from the boy’s mother and father and from the spine doctor via video deposition.
“I’ll be the first to admit it’ll tug on your heartstrings cause he’s a nice young man,” stated David Brittingham, who represents Children’s Hospital in the matter. The hospital is not denying the lack of surgical success but is denying negligence, carelessness, or malpractice.