Former North Texas neurosurgeon faces felony charges

A former neurosurgeon who was once a rising star in his medical field is now in jail on felony charges. 

James Girards represents one of Christopher Duntch's former patients who sued the former neurosurgeon after a botched surgery.

“It is so rare for a district attorney to prosecute a physician,” said Girards. “What makes this different is the overwhelming evidence.” 

FOX 4 first covered Duntsch in 2013. Patients showed up to his Plano office trying to get records after his medical license was suspended. 

The medical board cited "imminent peril to public health" that was "due to impairment by drugs or alcohol."

Mary Efurd is one of the patients who sued Duntsch, saying his negligence resulted in permanent nerve damage.

Her case warranted two charges: aggravated assault and injury to an elderly person, bringing the total charges to six.

"Despite being on the maximum amount of narcotics, she prayed to God to take her life every single day,” Kay Van Wey, Efurd’s attorney, told FOX 4 in 2013. 

The aggravated assault charges against Duntsch say the deadly weapons he used were his hands and surgical tools.

In April, Duntsch was arrested for shoplifting nearly $900 in merchandise from a a Dallas Walmart.
    
Dallas police picked him up Tuesday afternoon on the assault charges near a Richardson motel.

“There's been LSD, there has been cocaine, there has been pills,” one of Duntsch’s friends in a civil suit says in a videotaped deposition, pointing to Duntsch’s downward spiral.

“How long did this drug party go on that night?” A voice off-camera in the deposition asks.

“All night. ‘Til the next day,” said the former friend.

“’Till the sun came up?” the person off camera asks.

“Well beyond ‘til the sun came up, because Chris had to go to work the next day and he went,” said the former friend. 
    
Girards says it's often difficult getting criminal prosecution in malpractice cases, in part because of a powerful medical lobby
    
“Typically, when a physician is targeted for a criminal prosecution, the industry rallies around that physician,” said Girards. “For that reason, it's a real gut check for a district attorney to indict a physician for something he was doing professionally.”

But Duntsch stands out. 

“This one is so egregious that the information just couldn't be controlled,” said Girards.
Since 2013, Duntsch has been back and forth between Dallas and Colorado, where he was put on probation for DWI.

It appears Duntsch does not have legal representation so far for the latest charges.

FOX 4 put in a request to do a jailhouse interview to get his side of the story, but we have not gotten a response.

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