Beth Israel Doctor Faces Two SuitsJan 6, 2004 | Boston Globe Dr. Adel Malek, a neurosurgeon at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, is facing not one but two malpractice lawsuits over surgery delays that contributed to patients' deaths. Malek was one of the doctors-in-training who failed to consult with a senior physician as 13-month-old Taylor McCormack sustained what would be fatal brain swelling on the night of Oct. 31, 2000, at Children's Hospital. Malek and another resident put off surgery until the morning, by which time Taylor had stopped breathing; she died six days later.
The second case involves a 57-year-old woman with severe headaches who was treated by Malek on Aug. 25, 2001, after he had moved to Beth Israel. Malek found that Noemi Fontanez had a large brain aneurysm a ballooning of an artery that is usually fatal if it bursts. Rather than perform emergency surgery, he sent her home and scheduled an operation for Aug. 31. Unfortunately, Fontanez died from a massive cerebral hemmorhage on Aug. 30, prompting a lawsuit from her son naming Malek and two other doctors.
Malek's attorney, said he expects the young doctor to be exonerated in both cases and he rejects the idea that they form a pattern of delay. "Dr. Malek and neurosurgeons like him deal with tremendously complicated medical issues. Here is a fellow who has treated literally thousands of patients and we're focusing on these two cases that admittedly had tragic outcomes."
Try telling that to John McCormack, Taylor's father: "I would think they would learn from my daughter's mistake in putting off surgery when it's life threatening. You do the emergency surgery."