Board takes professional compliance actions

At its meetings on April 25, 2011 and June 11, 2011 the Board of Directors of the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) considered grievances filed under the AAOS Professional Compliance Program that alleged violations of the AAOS Standards of Professionalism (SOPs) for Orthopaedic Expert Witness Testimony. After considering the information presented and upon recommendations of the Judiciary Committee and/or the Grievance Hearing Panel of the Committee on Professionalism (COP), the Board took the professional compliance actions indicated.

Edward M. Decter, MD
West Orange, NJ

On September 1, 2006, a grievance was filed against Dr. Decter alleging violations of Mandatory Standards 1, 2, 3, and 7 of the AAOS Standards of Professionalism for Orthopaedic Expert Witness Testimony. The grievance arose from statements made by Dr. Decter in his prepared written report of medical opinion, deposition, and testimony. Dr. Decter was an expert witness in a case alleging that a patient, who had sustained a work-related injury, was allowed to resume unrestricted work activity too soon causing her to suffer progression of disk pathology resulting in permanent radiculopathy despite surgical intervention.

The patient in this case was a 46-year-old nurse who injured her back at work on May 10, 2001, while pulling a patient. She was evaluated by the Grievant 1 week later. She had reported a similar injury 8 years previously and was then out of work for 1 week. At the time of evaluation she complained of pain in the low back with occasional radiation to the right mid thigh but no further distal. There were no complaints of numbness or paresthesias and straight leg raising caused back pain, but no leg pain. Neurologic examination was normal and she was diagnosed with an acute back sprain. She was referred for physical therapy and advised to be out of work.

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