A former football player in a state outside Illinois began having back pain in 2009. The man alleged in a medical malpractice suit that surgical errors stemming from his first doctor visit regarding that pain ended his football career. A jury recently agreed and awarded him approximately $4.2 million in damages.
When he went to the doctor in 2009, an MRI showed that he had a herniated disc in L5-S1. That means that the material that provides a cushion between the vertebrae in the spine is slipping out of place. His pain continued to increase, and he chose to have an operation to repair the damage.
The initial surgery took place in Sept. 2010. The surgeon operated on the wrong disc. Instead of repairing L5-S1, he operated on L4-L5. Not surprisingly, the former University of Nevada, Las Vegas player's pain continued and spread to the disc mistakenly operated on by the surgeon. Day-to-day activities became unmanageable.
He consulted with a different surgeon in Oct. 2010. It was determined that he would need a second surgical procedure to correct the damage done to both discs. He received some relief in the first few weeks after this surgery, but the pain returned. The jury determined that the majority of the damage done to the victim's back was a result of the surgical errors from the first procedure. The degeneration continues, and he will require additional surgeries -- most likely before the age of 50.
It may seem incomprehensible to many Illinois residents that a doctor could operate on the wrong body part. However, this happens more often than many might believe. Patients are often forced to have additional surgical procedures to correct the mistake, if that is even possible. A normal life may be impossible to live after the error. Doctors who make these surgical errors may be held liable for their mistakes through the successful litigation of a medical malpractice claim.
Source: unlvrebelyell.com, "Former Rebel football star is awarded $4.2 million in medical malpractice lawsuit", Brett Murray, Sept. 10, 2015