Posted: November 21, 2012

After a rash of spine operations went bad, it was discovered that one of the doctors performing the procedure at a New Mexico hospital had allegedly faked his credentials -- he wasn’t even a surgeon at all. That revelation and other problems resulted in the Gerald Champion Regional Medical Center agreeing to settle 80 malpractice claims for a total of more than $33 million. The Albuquerque Journal reported that patients were injured when a cement that was used in spinal procedures as a cushion in the disk space had seeped into other areas of the spine before it hardened, or that it hardened and later cracked into pieces. The newspaper reported that one doctor, an anesthesiologist and pain management specialist, was accused of using fraudulent credentials to operate on patients even though he wasn't a surgeon and that he injected the cement into patients' spines in a procedure that turned out to be neither safe nor effective. Two years later, former patients began to file lawsuits contending the spinal procedures left them with debilitating injury and pain. Some suffered partial paralysis, some lost bladder and bowel function. Learn more about medical malpractice lawsuits.