CA Supreme Court Upholds Multi-Million Dollar Verdict; Cedars-Sinai Medical Center Ordered to Pay Skull Base Institute Sur

Hospital Ordered To Pay Surgeon For Poor Sterilization Practices & Retaliatory Actions Against Him

LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- After more than 4 years of legal wrangling, the highest court in the state has issued the final word in a bitterly contested case involving a world-renowned surgeon who has waged a 1-man battle against one of the most powerful medical institutions in the nation. Remaining consistent with the lower courts' rulings, the California State Supreme Court has upheld a multi-million dollar judgment against Cedars-Sinai Medical Center (CSMC) concerning the hospital’s negligence in maintaining and sterilizing surgical instruments – practices that endangered the lives of patients. The Court also reaffirmed the original ruling that Cedars and much of its senior executive staff engaged in retaliatory measures against Hrayr Shahinian, M.D., which damaged his practice and reputation.

“I'm glad it's finally over and I can get back to what is really important, treating my patients, advancing science and making a positive contribution to the world," said Shahinian, who is one of the pioneers in minimally invasive brain surgery.

“It’s vindicating to know that the vast resources and time Cedars-Sinai spent trying to ruin Dr. Shahinian’s reputation failed and justice prevailed,” added attorney Robert C. Baker who represented Shahinian. “This case should give courage to conscientious whistleblowers everywhere.”

Among the disturbing revelations that Shahinian brought to light in the original case:

  • In numerous instances, bioburden (brain matter) was found on surgical instruments supposedly sterilized by Cedars-Sinai. Had they been used, patients would have been vulnerable to a host of infections including one resembling “mad cow” disease.
  • Shahinian was pressured but refused to extend overnight stays long beyond what was medically necessary to increase revenue for the hospital.
  • Shahinian was “encouraged” to refer patients to Cedars staff physicians even when they were not qualified in order to increase revenue for the hospital.
  • Cedars regularly engaged in the practice of flash sterilization instead of proper procedure (this should only be used in rare instances such as when an instrument is dropped during surgery and it is necessary to complete the procedure. Proper sterilization is an overnight process and much safer for patients.)
  • Cedars-Sinai withheld key information from the investigators during the original investigation in 2006.
  • Shahinian’s refusal to “buckle” under pressure from the hospital made him the target of a smear campaign designed to harm his practice and reputation.

Shahinian has earned international attention for his groundbreaking minimally invasive approach to surgery to remove brain and skull base tumors and treat other related abnormalities. His revolutionary techniques have helped more than 4,500 patients who benefited from fewer complications, shortened hospital stays and decreased recovery times. To date, Shahinian has treated patients from all 50 states as well as from Mexico, Canada, the UK, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Armenia, Switzerland, Belgium, Germany, Italy, France, Poland, Egypt and Israel. The efficacy of Shahinian’s minimally invasive techniques over the open craniotomy and other traditional methods have been documented in prestigious peer-reviewed journals, medical books and, most recently, a textbook authored by Shahinian entitled “Endoscopic Skull Base Surgery.” Dr. Shahinian is currently engaged with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in developing the next generation of endoscopic brain surgery instruments.



Kristen Hinman, 562-491-1000


KEYWORDS:   United States  North America  California

INDUSTRY KEYWORDS:   Surgery  Health  Hospitals  Professional Services  Legal