Articles Posted in Surgical Errors

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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Ms. Doe, 52, underwent popliteal peroneal artery bypass grafting surgery. She required four additional surgeries after this procedure, including replacement of her inflow and outflow grafts, a fasciotomy to relieve compartment syndrome and resection of necrotic muscle in her lower extremity.

Almost five weeks after the first surgery, Doe suffered a stroke. This led to her death the following day. Doe had been a human resource director earning approximately $100,000 per year. She was survived by her two adult children.

The lawsuit claimed that the outflow target vessel for the first surgery was negligently selected. This led to extremity ischemia, the need for additional surgery, the development of compartment syndrome and failure of the graft.
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Leslie Pederson, 40, underwent a laparoscopic ovarian cystectomy that was done by a gynecologist affiliated with Buffalo Clinic, P.A. During this procedure, the doctor reinserted the trocar without using a camera for direct visualization.

As a result, Pederson suffered a 5-mm laceration to her right common iliac artery that required an emergency laparotomy.
As manager for a transportation company, she missed several months from her job and was later fired. She had lost income of $47,000. Pederson went back to school to train for a different job and profession.

Pederson and her husband filed a lawsuit against Buffalo Clinic claiming that it was liable for the doctor’s negligence for reinserting the trocar without a camera. A trocar is a surgical device usually made out of metal or plastic and sharpened at its end. Trocars are mostly used in laparoscopic surgery. The instrument has a sharp-pointed end with a cannula used to insert the cannula into the body cavity as a drainage device. It’s used to withdraw fluid from the surgical area.
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On Oct. 5, 2012, the defendant in this case, Dr. Yasser Alhaj-Hussein, completed a celiac plexus block procedure designed to lessen or alleviate the pain that Kathy Arient was experiencing in her abdominal area. The procedure was done at Orland Park Medical Center and involved alcohol inserted into the spine to destroy select nerves.

Following the procedure, Arient complained of numbness in her legs and was taken by ambulance to St. Joseph’s Hospital. It was there that it was determined that she had been rendered paraplegic. Arient and her husband, Terry Arient, filed a lawsuit against Dr. Hussein and other defendants alleging medical negligence in performing the celiac block. The suit also included a claim for loss of consortium.

Unfortunately, Arient died on June 9, 2014. The lawsuit was amended to include a wrongful-death and survival action against both Dr. Hussein and Illinois Anesthesia and Pain Associates and Orland Park Surgical Center. Orland Park Surgical moved to be dismissed as a defendant; the trial judge agreed.
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In a confidential report of this case, Doe, age 55, underwent a laparoscopic cholecystectomy performed by a surgeon and partner. During the procedure, the surgeon was concerned that one of the trocars used could have perforated the patient’s small bowel. A trocar is a medical device used in surgery and placed through the abdomen during laparoscopic surgery.

The surgeon told his associates, including his partner, that if the patient developed complications after her discharge, the diagnosis of a perforated small bowel should be considered.

The patient later called the surgical group advising them that she was experiencing persistent vomiting and severe pain. The surgeon advised her to go to the emergency room. There the patient reported severe abdominal pain. Testing revealed an elevated white count, and a CT scan showed extensive free air and fluid in her naval area. At the hospital, a radiologist diagnosed a possible perforation related to the recent surgery, a small bowel obstruction and an abdominal abscess.
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Carson Sofro, 33, was diagnosed with having a malignant tumor in his colon. He underwent a resection performed by a colorectal surgeon, Dr. Benjamin Karsten at St. Luke’s Regional Medical Center. After removing the tumor, Dr. Karsten connected the colon and small bowel.

Sofro suffered a variety of symptoms after the surgery, including pain, vomiting and bloating. He sought treatment at St. Luke’s and was told that his symptoms were a normal complication of the surgery. Sofro continued to experience these symptoms for more than two years before being diagnosed as having a 360-degree twist in his small bowel. That condition required another resection, causing him to miss one month of work from his job as the owner of a basketball camp.

Sofro filed a lawsuit against St. Luke’s Regional Medical Center alleging liability by Dr. Karsten choosing not to ensure that the small bowel was not twisted before creating the anastomosis. There was a claim of lost income of $15,000. Anastomosis is a surgical procedure connecting adjacent blood vessels, parts of the intestine or other channels of the body.
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Matthew Hipps, 44, was to undergo abdominal surgery, which required stenting of his urethra. He consented to having the catherization done by the head of the urology department at Virginia Mason Medical Center. While in the midst of the catherization, a urology fellow placed a tube inside Hipps’s urethra, which met with resistance. The fellow then used a hemostat to open the tip of Hipps’s penis before placing the catheter inside the urethra. A hemostat, which is also called a hemostatic clamp, is a surgical tool most often used to control bleeding.

As a result of the forced opening of the urethra, Hipps suffered a tear and developed scarring inside his urethra. He now suffers discomfort when engaging in intercourse and has difficulty urinating.

Hipps sued the hospital alleging that the fellow negligently used the hemostat during the procedure and improperly dilated the urethra. The lawsuit did not include lost income.
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