Health

Tuesday, Mar 19 2013 06:45 AM

Medical board accuses surgeon of negligence

BY RACHEL COOK Californian staff writer rcook@bakersfield.com

The Medical Board of California has brought an accusation against a Bakersfield surgeon claiming he was negligent and incompetent in his care of 10 patients.

The accusation alleges that Mallik Thatipelli, a vascular surgeon, committed “an extreme departure from the standard of care” in how he treated the patients or documented their care. The patients are identified only by initials in the accusation and range in age from 58 to 87.
 
Thatipelli’s attorney Mitchell Green said the accusation arose out of an internal review at Bakersfield Memorial Hospital. The San Francisco attorney said other doctors at the hospital have questioned Thatipelli about his techniques, but that there was no injury to any patient or malpractice claim.
 
“What the dispute is really about more than anything else is which of several different techniques is the proper technique to diagnose someone with vascular disease,” Green said Friday. 
 
Frank Miller, a program support analyst for the medical board, confirmed that hospitals are required to notify the medical board of peer reviews. 
 
“We handle (peer review reports) just like any other case we would get as a source of a possible complaint or an investigation,” Miller said.
 
Robin Mangarin-Scott, a spokeswoman for Mercy and Bakersfield Memorial hospitals, said the hospital cannot comment on peer reviews.
 
The medical board’s accusation, which was filed in February, asserts that Thatipelli incorrectly diagnosed an 85-year-old patient and performed an “unnecessary” diagnostic angiogram and then referred the woman for vascular surgery, “which was also unnecessary.” 
 
In his treatment of an 87-year-old woman, the accusation argues that Thatipelli performed procedures, including using general anesthesia, that “were unnecessarily high risk techniques for this particular patient.”
 
The accusation charges Thatipelli with departing from the standard of care in several areas, including by “performing two angiographic procedures in one setting” and in his “pre-procedural planning and procedural documentation.”
 
“Specifically, there is either a lack of documentation or confusing documentation,” the accusation said. 
 
Green said the issues at stake are technical ones that do not pose a great or imminent risk to patients. 
 
“We're expecting that we're going to prevail at the hospital hearing and that, based on that, the medical board will withdraw these charges,” he said.
 
Thatipelli’s license was issued in February 2009, according to the medical board. He graduated in 1989 from an Indian university, according to the board’s website.

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For a copy of the medical board's accusation, view this story at bakersfieldcalifornian.com.

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