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MEDICAL MALPRACTICE a neurosurgeon who performed a posterior lumbar interbody fusion for the first time did not commit medical malpractice, a Texas jury found on May 15. Mary Pullin, 50, who was left wheelchair-bound after the procedure, contended that Dr. Rudy P. Briner incorrectly performed the fusion using BAK cages as “stand-alone” devices, when it was well-established that additional support was necessary. She also alleged that Briner had no experience with the fusion. Briner countered that BAK cages were approved by the FDA as stand-alone devices, and that it was not generally known that stand-alone BAK cages had a higher failure rate than those provided with additional support. He further contended that while it was, indeed, the first time that he had conducted this particular fusion, he had both the skill and knowledge necessary to perform it competently. Pullin died of unrelated causes before trial; her daughter took over the trial. Pullin v. Briner, No. 51,986.85 (Brazos Co., Texas, Dist. Ct.). PLAINTIFF’S ATTORNEY: Brian L. Jensen, Houston DEFENSE ATTORNEY: John R. Shepperd, Bradford, Koenig, Shepperd & Kerr, Houston

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