Any surgery carries some degree of risk, but when a procedure involving the brain goes awry, the physical, emotional, and financial fallout can be devastating. In 2013, Regina Turner, a 53-year-old St. Louis woman who was supposed to undergo a left-sided craniotomy bypass, was permanently injured due to surgery being performed on the wrong side of her brain. Although she and her family hired good medical malpractice lawyers who helped her recover compensation for damages, Ms. Turner’s life was irrevocably changed.
Before surgery, Ms. Turner had suffered a series of mini-strokes over several years. The purpose of the left-sided craniotomy bypass was to prevent future strokes, but the medical error resulted in her requiring round-the-clock care. Unable to walk, she had to use a wheelchair, and her speech became garbled. Although a second surgery was performed six days later on the correct side of her brain, the damage was already done. Photos of Regina before her first surgery show an indelible marking on the left side of her head. After the procedure, another picture shows a bandage on the right side of her head. Unfortunately, no one in the operating room noticed that they were working on the wrong side.
How Did This Happen?
There are different reasons why wrong-side craniotomies are performed. Reversed X-rays, procedural errors, and a surgeon failing to review a patient’s medical records are just a few factors that can come into play. Wrong-site surgeries are considered sentinel events, which are the worst kinds of medical errors. It’s hard to believe, but a 2007 study found that one out of four neurosurgeons has performed wrong-site surgeries.
Holding Responsible Parties Accountable for Wrong-Side Craniotomy
In this type of situation, the best medical malpractice lawyers in Pennsylvania recommend finding a personal injury lawyer with experience handling wrong-site surgery cases. Ms. Turner and her family hired attorney Alvin Wolff, who filed a medical malpractice suit against Dr. Armond Levy, the neurosurgeon who performed the bungled operation, and SSM Health Care St. Louis.
The lawsuit was settled out of court. The details of the settlement were undisclosed. Although some may consider this justice, no amount of money can change what happened to Regina and how the medical error affected her life. Mr. Wolff also filed a complaint with the Missouri Board of Registration for the Healing Arts. They declined to take action against Dr. Levy, but a record of the investigation remains on file. If the state of Missouri wouldn’t hold him accountable, at least Regina and her family found some kind of recourse by filing a medical malpractice lawsuit and recovering a settlement.
If you or someone you love has been affected by wrong-site surgery, you don’t have to go it alone. Our malpractice lawyers in West Chester, PA are here for you. Our legal team includes some of the best medical malpractice attorneys in Chester County. Our personal injury attorneys and malpractice lawyers also serve clients in Delaware County and other counties.