Assembly Line Medicine Blamed for Baseball Players Botched Surgery
Assembly-line medicine is the name of a controversial new technique of performing multiple surgeries at the same time. One skilled surgeon will perform the most complex part of a surgical procedure and allow residents and other hospital staff to stitch the patient up and complete the surgery. While medical experts claim that the practice is perfectly safe, it ends up being a major point of argument in medical malpractice cases after a patient has been injured during their surgery. One of the most famous examples of this involves former White Sox and Red Sox pitcher Bobby Jenks who settled for $5.1 million after her spinal surgery went wrong, ending his career.
Dr. Kirkham Wood performed spinal decompression surgery on Jenks in December of 2011. According to the complaint, Wood was performing another surgery on a different patient on the same day. This is not unusual for doctors and has become a standard practice in recent years. In some cases, doctors have performed fourteen surgeries in a single day going from one room to the other. While the newspapers have dubbed this “assembly line medicine” the preferred term used by medical staff is “concurrent surgery.”
Jenks suffered complications from the surgery and never returned to the mound to pitch another at bat in his life. Jenks complained of infection at the incision site at one point saying that it felt like a cup of water have been spilled down his back. Almost immediately afterward, he suffered an excruciating headache. Jenks had suffered a tear in one of the dural sacs that cover the spine and leaked spinal fluid out of his back.
The doctor and hospital claimed that a dural tear was a known risk of spinal decompression surgery and that Jenks had failed to follow post-operative instructions following his discharge from the hospital.
After the failed surgery and the loss of his career, Jenks underwent three more back surgeries and became addicted to pain medication. He also became an alcoholic, describing his journey in a personal article that describes how he woke up one morning in someone else’s car unable to remember how he got there.
Jenks says that he will use the $5.1 million settlement to raise awareness concerning the dangers of assembly line medicine.
At his best, Jenks was among the major league’s best closers. He was a world series champion with Chicago White Sox in 2005 and posted 173 saves for the franchise from 2005 to 2010. Injuries proved too difficult to sustain his career and when he ended his season with the Boston Red Sox in 2011, he had an ERA of 6.32. His ERA with the White Sox was 2.75 during the year they won the world series.
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If you’ve been injured by medical negligence, the St. Petersburg medical malpractice attorneys at Masterson, Hoag & Smith can help you recover damages related to corrective surgeries, lost work, and pain and suffering. Give us a call to schedule your free consultation today.