Dennis Metzger was admitted to Mobile Infirmary Medical Center in December 2018 with a left frontal lobe brain tumor that had been confirmed on MRI. A cerebral angiogram, ordered by Nakhla, showed that a preliminary embolization was not possible, so Nakhla took Metzger to the operating room 5 days after he was first admitted…medscape.com, MD Charged With Manslaughter Now Faces Malpractice Suit for Performing the Wrong Brain Surgery, Alicia Ault, 2021.
The patient consented to “biopsy and debulking brain tumor,” but, according to the lawsuit, Nakhla instead performed a bifrontal craniotomy and resected the tumor.
The surgeon documented that the tumor came out easily but that “the mass was extremely vascular and hemorrhagic.” The suit alleges that Nakhla later “realized he performed the wrong surgery and either he himself crossed through the original disclosure to alter it…or directed someone else to do so.”
Later that evening, Nakhla reportedly took the patient, who had become lethargic and nonresponsive, back to the operating room for emergency evacuation of a subdural hematoma. Metzger never regained consciousness and died within 4 days of the initial procedure.
Nakhla was charged with manslaughter in August 2020.
The neurosurgeon – who was 26 years old at the time – was driving more than 130 miles per hour in a 45 MPH zone and had a blood alcohol content above the legal limit when he swerved to avoid another car. He rolled his sports car multiple times, and the impact killed Nakhla’s passenger, third-year medical student Samantha Thomas, who was 24.
Thomas’ father sued Nakhla a few weeks after the accident, seeking punitive damages.