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Mistake Prone Arizona Doctor Put on Probation

State medical officials have formally placed an Arizona doctor with a history of medical malpractice and surgical errors on probation. Dr. Roy R. Gettel has been prohibited from performing surgery indefinitely after the case of a woman who was left disabled by a surgical procedure he performed.

The woman came to the emergency room with a fractured ankle and was treated by Gettel who pinned the bones improperly, leaving the ankle misaligned. She now suffers from post-traumatic arthritis and an irreversibly misaligned ankle.

This however, was not the first reported incident of error for Gettel. The doctor's malpractice suits and medical errors date back to 1990 when he was reprimanded by medical officials who accused him of being “inadequate” in fracture repair. In the past two years, Gettel was charged with negligent care of a 47-year-old man, which resulted in the amputation of the man's leg

Other complaints against the doctor have surfaced regularly since 1990 highlighting several incidents of surgical error and inadequate fracture repair.

A representative from the medical board commented that the actions have been taken due to the troubled medical history and a series of medical malpractice suits filed against the doctor. “It is necessary for this decision to take place immediately to protect the public health and safety”, the board commented in December.

Gettel however stopped performing surgery on his own behalf two years ago, which he claims was a decision made for personal and physical reasons. He now practices orthopedic medicine from an office and refers his patients in need of surgery to other orthopedic surgeons.

Dr. Gettel plans to counter the boards ruling and accusations, alleging that he was not at fault in the case of the woman's fractured ankle rather that she declined the recommended proper alignment procedure leading to her difficulties.

The woman's attorney, Barry Davis has commented that Dr. Gettel “is a really smart guy with excellent academic credentials. You just have to scratch your head and wonder when you see some of the errors he's made.”

Dr. Gettel plans to participate in an ankle surgery course next month.

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