Articles Posted in Surgical Errors

Matthew Standley had a history of osteomyelitis, bone disease or bone infection, 14 knee surgeries, and numerous skin grafts and muscle harvests. When he experienced pain in his left knee, he consulted osteopathic orthopedic surgeon Dr. Melvyn Rech. Several weeks later, Dr. Rech performed a left knee arthroscopy, meniscectomy, a chondroplasty, and hardware removal.

Several months after these procedures, Dr. Rech performed a total knee replacement.

At Standley’s post-operative evaluation two weeks after the knee replacement, Dr. Rech prescribed Keflex, an anti-bacterial drug. Within two weeks, Standley went to a hospital emergency room, complaining of severe knee pain and drainage from the surgical site. Dr. Rech did not respond to several nurses’ calls, and Standley, 51, was subsequently admitted for treatment of cellulitis and a possible hardware infection.
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St. Luke’s Surgicenter-Lee’s Summit LLC appealed the circuit court’s judgment against St. Luke’s after a jury trial. The gist of the claim was for negligent credentialing. The claim had been brought by the plaintiff, Thomas E. Tharp and Paula M. Tharp, his wife. The jury found in favor of the Tharps and awarded damages. On appeal, the jury verdict was reversed by the Missouri Appellate Court.

“This case arises from a medical malpractice action against a surgeon operating out of St. Luke’s Surgicenter in Lee’s Summit, Mo. In December 2011, Thomas Tharp underwent a laparoscopic cholecystectomy — a surgical procedure to remove his gallbladder.”

The surgeon who handled the gallbladder removal applied for staff privileges at St. Luke’s in 2005 and renewed his privileges several times thereafter. Among other requirements, St. Luke’s required physicians applying for staff privileges to disclose whether they had ever been sued for professional malpractice and, if so, the number of lawsuits they had defended.
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Vincent Minor was 28 years old when he underwent gastric bypass surgery. He developed an obstruction, which caused his stomach contents to back up above his lap band. During the surgery to remove the lap band, he began vomiting and aspirated vomit.

He later developed pneumonitis and acute respiratory distress syndrome and remained in a vegetative state until he passed away a month later. Minor was survived by his parents and two siblings.

The Minor family sued Dr. Joyce Hairston, the treating anesthesiologist, alleging that she had chosen not to place a nasogastric tube and failed to evacuate Minor’s stomach contents before intubating him. The lawsuit did not claim lost income.
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Ms. Doe, age 67, underwent elective laparoscopic hiatal hernia repair surgery. The procedure was completed by Dr. Roe, a surgeon, along with a nurse’s assistance. During the surgery, Dr. Roe used a tack applier to secure surgical mesh needed to patch an opening in Ms. Doe’s diaphragm.

The next day, Ms. Doe suffered atrial fibrillation and a rapid heartbeat. Ms. Doe coded that night and, despite extensive resuscitative efforts, she died.

Ms. Doe was survived by her husband and two adult children.
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Faith DeGrand was just 10 when she was diagnosed with congenital scoliosis. To try to prevent the condition from worsening, Faith underwent surgery by a pediatric orthopedist, Dr. Eric Jones. In this surgery, Dr. Jones inserted hardware in Faith’s thoracic spine.

After this surgery, Faith experienced incontinence, numbness in her hands and fingers, and weakness in both legs. Dr. Jones examined Faith, but found nothing wrong. Another doctor took over Faith’s care after Dr. Jones went on vacation.

Faith’s condition worsened. Dr. Jones then performed another surgery to loosen the hardware he had placed in Faith’s thoracic spine during the first surgery. Despite this effort, Faith’s symptoms worsened. Dr. Jones then went on another vacation. The other doctor, taking over Faith’s medical care, ordered an MRI. Faith underwent yet another surgery, this time to remove the hardware, which had led to decreased blood flow to and indirect compression of her cervical spine.
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Lisa-Maria Carter, 45, was seen as an outpatient at Tampa General Hospital to remove an ovarian cyst. The staff physician, Dr. Larry Glazerman, performed a Hassan laparoscopic procedure aided by two resident physicians.

During the surgery, Dr. Glazerman transected Carter’s bowel. She was admitted to the patient floor several hours after the surgery. She experienced severe pain and abnormally low blood pressure. In addition, her incision opened, discharging a large amount of bloody fluid.

Carter’s condition continued to worsen until she was diagnosed as suffering from acute respiratory failure, hypotension, organ failure and sepsis.
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Deborah DeFranko was diagnosed by ophthalmologist Dr. Taylor Poole as having cataracts. Dr. Poole performed cataract surgery on DeFranko’s eyes over the course of one month.

During the cataract procedures, Dr. Poole placed Toric lenses in both eyes.

A Toric lense is a contact lense that is shaped in a way to conform to the shape of the patient’s eyes. In a cataract surgery, Toric lenses are implanted to replace the clouded lenses of the patient’s lens. Sometimes a Toric lens may correct astigmatism during cataract surgery.
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Shelva Kostrzewa underwent a face lift that was completed by a plastic surgeon, Dr. Thomas Beird. She was 64 years old at the time. It was alleged in the lawsuit that she suffered severe scarring and disfigurement, which led to emotional distress.

Kostrzewa sued Dr. Beird and his professional corporation alleging he mishandled the procedure by thinning her skin excessively and stitching her skin too tightly. This process led to blood flow problems and tissue death. She also maintained that Dr. Beird chose not to diagnose and treat the thinning skin and stitching her skin too tightly when she visited the doctor three times after the surgery.

The jury returned a verdict of $400,000.
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A $1.53 million jury verdict was entered following the jury trial of 50-year-old Joseph Miller. Miller was referred to Bay Area Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine for evaluation of a bone spur in his right heel. Dr. Vivek Sood, an orthopedic surgeon, removed the bone spur and also did an Achilles tendon reattachment.

After the surgery, Miller suffered a deep wound infection in his right foot. The infection required seven additional surgeries and extensive medical care.

Miller lost a portion of his foot because of the wound infection. He was a laborer and remained out of work for approximately three months. His lost income was more than $19,600.
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Kyle Wodzenski, 20 years old at the time of this accident, fractured his left index finger in a work-related incident. Orthopedic surgeon Fred Moore Carter II MD performed an open reduction surgery on Wodzenski, placing his finger in a plaster splint.

Wodzenski, who was suffering from significant pain, went to Dr. Carter’s office two days after his hospital discharge. Physician assistant John Rongo examined him in less than five minutes, choosing not to open the splint.

At an appointment the following week, Dr. Carter told Wodzenski that his index finger had become necrotic and required amputation.
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