Articles Posted in Surgical Errors

Johnny Terrell Sledge, 24, suffered a gunshot wound to his back. He was taken to the DCH Regional Medical Center emergency room where an emergency room physician recognized the need for surgery.

On-call trauma surgeon Dr. Bradley Bilton was paged repeatedly but responded that he was in surgery and that someone else should be called to assist Sledge. The hospital staff could not locate another surgeon; Dr. Bolton was paged again.

Instead of coming to the emergency room after completing the surgical procedure that he was involved in, Dr. Bilton started a second elective surgery instead of coming to the aid of Sledge.
Unfortunately, Sledge died while waiting for an emergency laparotomy. He is survived by his family.
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Christine Coffey was diagnosed as having a “berry aneurysm.” The vascular surgeon assigned to Coffey was Dr. Henry Woo who reviewed Coffey’s images and advised her that an untreated aneurysm could cause sudden death.

Dr. Woo performed an Onyx brain aneurysm procedure. During the procedure, Coffey suffered brain damage that has left her with permanent hemiparesis. Hemiparesis, or unilateral paresis, is the weakness of one side of the body. Hemiparesis can be caused by different medical conditions, including stroke.
Coffey had worked at a hospital, but she is now unable to work. She also has an impaired ability to take care of her young child.

Coffey sued Dr. Woo alleging negligence in that he chose not to obtain an informed consent. The lawsuit claimed that Dr. Woo had forced the liquid Onyx embolic agent into Coffey’s small aneurysm, causing the Onyx particles to escape the aneurysm and cause a stroke. Coffey also asserted that Dr. Woo decided not to advise her of the dangers of the surgery and safer available alternatives.
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In December 2015, the plaintiff, Michael Burke, who was then 73 years old, underwent a scheduled hernia repair at Northwestern Medicine-Kishwaukee Hospital in DeKalb, Ill.

After this hernia repair surgery, his blood pressure dropped and he complained of severe abdominal pain. Burke’s family asked the surgeon, Dr. Stephen Goldman, to look in on Burke, but Dr. Goldman allegedly said that he would not do so until he was finished with other patients.

At about 6 p.m. that same day, Dr. Goldman performed an exploratory surgery and found Burke’s abdomen was full of blood. An hour later, Burke’s wife noticed her husband had weakness on the left side of his face, he was unable to fully open his left eye, his lip was drooping and his speech was slurred.
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Linda Shelly, 56, suffered from various health problems including hypertension, congestive heart failure and diabetes. When she experienced shortness of breath, she was admitted to a local hospital, where a CT scan revealed a retroperitoneal cyst.

The next day, Dr. Muthiah Thangavelu, a general surgeon, performed surgery to remove the cyst. A subsequent pathology report showed that a portion of Shelly’s ureter was removed during the surgery and was included with the frozen section of the cyst. She was later diagnosed as having a right ureteral injury, a urinoma, and kidney swelling. Urinoma is the result of a breach of the integrity of the pelvis or calices of the kidney or of the ureter. Urinomas are urine collections usually found in the retroperitoneum, most commonly in the perirenal space, as a result of renal tract leakage caused by urinary obstruction, trauma or post-surgery complications.

Despite attempts to save her ureter and kidney over the next two years, she lost a kidney, necessitating dialysis and hastening her death. She was survived by her three adult children.
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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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