Brain surgeons were operating on a teenager named Cody at an Arkansas hospital, when, during the procedure, the surgeons realized they were operating on the wrong side of Cody’s brain. Talk about blatant medical negligence! According to Cody’s attorneys, the surgeons halted the wrong-sided brain surgery and continued with the surgery on the proper side of the brain. If that wasn’t bad enough, the surgeons never told the family of the mistake and actively covered up the mistakes.
Cody’s attorneys, Grant Davis and Tom Jones of Kansas City, Missouri, proved that it was 15 months after the surgery, when Cody’s parents took him to another doctor at a different hospital for tests that they were first told something was very wrong. That doctor, concerned over the lack of proper recuperation, essentially provided the clues that there had been wrong-sided surgery at the original children’s hospital.
The Arkansas jury returned a $20 million medical malpractice verdict against the at-fault doctors who worked at the children’s hospital.
Cody has been treated in Virginia Beach, Virginia (VA) at a rehabilitation facility and received care from Dr.O’Shanick, a prominent neuro-psychiatrist/brain specialist in Richmond. Dr. O’Shanick regularly participates in brain injury seminars not only in the United States but on an international basis. Our firm, which is located in Va Beach, is fortunate to have Dr. O’Shanick so close so we can consult him when we have serious traumatic brain injury cases. In fact, our firm represented a gas station attendant who suffered a traumatic brain injury when a Norfolk Southern Train crashed into the gas station walls after derailing and virtually pinned him in the rubble, causing brain injury. That brain injury case was tried to a Manassas, VA jury to a record $46 million verdict (with interest, $60 million) in the year 2000.
Cody continues to suffer from epileptic seizures. He was only 15 when the 2004 surgery occurred. The procedure was intended to help with his seizures and reduce them. Unfortunately, the surgery ended up causing permanent damage to his brain.
According to Davis and Jones at trial, the surgical team discovered the wrong side of the brain had been operated on and the hospital’s chief executive officer, vice president, risk manager and nursing supervisor were all notified. They also discussed the issue before initiating the proper, second surgery.
Davis and Jones proved that the hospital violated other protocols by not telling the parents about this serious event which required disclosure to the victim/patient. That is certainly an understatement given a wrong-sided brain surgery.
Davis and Jones also contended that the surgery wasn’t necessary in the first place because Cody’s epileptic seizures were under control through medication. The procedure was a partial bilateral temporal lobectomy which caused further seizures and required additional medications. The life care plan over the teenager’s necessary medical expenses for his life time was into the millions of dollars as a result of the unnecessary and negligently conducted surgery.
Grant Davis and Tom Jones are some of the nation’s finest injury trial attorneys and have handled a number of major catastrophic injury cases in the Western United States. They did a fantastic job for this family. Unfortunately, as I understand it, the attorneys are still fighting to collect the monies due from the children’s hospital and their insurance companies. The matter may go up on appeal in the Arkansas State Court System.
What an embarrassment to all competent, brain surgeons! This horrible mistake speaks volumes about the need for standard checklists for all surgeons, even the most experienced, as we have outlined in prior posts.