In South Dakota, Dena Knapp went into surgery to remove a mass on her adrenal gland. She came out with the mass still intact, but missing a kidney. Adrenal glands are located on top of each kidney, and evidently, the surgeon got confused. Though he did get the memo the day prior of what to remove, and he did get the memo following surgery that he had removed the wrong organ, he continued to misrepresent the situation to his patient for days.
She finally had the correct procedure performed, but at a different hospital in Minnesota, and is now suing for the loss of her healthy kidney.
Knapp's Botched Surgery
Knapp went into surgery on October 5, 2016 to have her right adrenal gland, and its corresponding mass, removed. Later that day, the pathology department at Avara McKennan Hospital informed Baker that he had removed her kidney, not her adrenal gland. In fact, the adrenal gland, and its mass, were still inside Knapp. On October 7, 2016, Baker told Knapp that he hadn't heard back yet from the hospital regarding the biopsy of the adrenal mass, and then on October 11th, told Knapp that he "did not get everything" and Knapp needed another surgery. "Did not get everything"? That's a gross misrepresentation of what happened, to say the least.
Since the surgery, Knapp claims she has succumbed to an incurable progressive kidney disease in her remaining kidney, and that she suffers from pain, fatigue, depression, and mental distress as a result of the doctor's malpractice. The filing also claims Knapp has incurred expenses in excess of $96,000 and $42,000 worth of earnings; these expenses will undoubtedly continue to rise before the case is settled or adjudicated.
Legal Remedy for Wrong-Site Surgeries
The hospital has already barred Baker from further surgeries. In most wrong-site surgeries, medical malpractice is rather easy to prove. But unfortunately, the settlement or award amount can be surprisingly low. In one study, only a third of wrong-site cases result in a malpractice suit, and the average payment was less than $81,000 in cases resulting in a lawsuit and $47,000 in those resolved without legal action. These are likely where there was little irreparable injury to the plaintiff.
However, in 2013, a Pennsylvania jury awarded a 54 year old man $620,000 for pain and suffering plus $250,000 in punitive damages, after it was found his surgeon was "recklessly indifferent" in removing the wrong testicle. And in 2010, a jury awarded $20 million to a 15 year-old Arkansas boy who was left psychotic and with severe brain damage following surgery on the wrong side of the boy's brain. In that case, the error was not disclosed to his parents for over a year.
If you have been the victim of a wrong-site surgery, or any other form of medical malpractice, contact a local medical malpractice attorney. An experienced attorney can go over the specifics of your case and offer you legal guidance on how to proceed.
- Find a Local Medical Malpractice Attorney (FindLaw's Lawyer Directory)
- Botched or Wrong-Site Surgery Lawsuits: 3 Legal Questions (FindLaw Injured Blotter)
- Doctor Removes Wrong Kidney: A Reminder About Wrong-Site Surgeries (FindLaw Injured Blotter)
Lead poisoning of school-aged children is unfortunately back in the spotlight, this time in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg, North Carolina area. Last year, 58 schools voluntarily tested the drinking water in local schools, and nearly half showed high lead levels. Results started posting earlier this week, reporting at least 27 schools had lead levels at the action-level 15 parts per billion (ppb) or greater. Some had lead levels as high as 100 ppb.
Lead Levels Three Times Higher Than Flint Water
To put this in perspective, the Environmental Protection Agency states that there is no safe level of lead in water, which has been proven to cause health problems ranging from stomach aches to irreparable brain damage. At 5 ppb, many cities issue a "cause for concern" warning. At 15 ppb, the EPA dictates that the water system must undertake a number of action items to control corrosion, pursuant to the Safe Water Drinking Act. Two years ago, during the height of the Flint, Michigan water crisis, lead levels there were at 26 ppb. At 100 ppb, the lead level in the North Carolina school water is almost four times that of Flint, and over six times the actionable EPA level.
Schools Self-Declare Water Is Now Safe
With schools about to re-open for the year, the district emphasized that the lead-contaminating culprits were plumbing fixtures, not the water supply itself. The schools have made some repairs and replacements, and claims many of the fixtures haven't been used for a while since they are in areas inaccessible to students. However, the district claims the study focused on points of consumption such as kitchen sinks, water fountains and ice machines, which seem to offer water frequently consumed by students.
For water outlets that still have high lead readings after fixture changes, the district will put up signs saying that the water isn't fit for consumption. It is assumed that Trillium Springs Montessori will have one of these signs, where there was a reading of 430 ppb on the first lead test, though it did drop to 100 ppb after the line was flushed. Perhaps six times the EPA warning level at a pre-school earns some warning signs.
If you are concerned that there are high levels of lead in your water, or in the water your children consume at school, contact a consumer protection lawyer in your area, who will listen to the facts or your case, and help you get the best possible outcome.
- Find a Consumer Protection Lawyer Near You (FindLaw Lawyer's Directory)
- Study: Lead in Flint's Water Caused Infertility, Fetal Deaths, Miscarriages (FindLaw's Injured Blog)
- More Public Officials Charged in Wake of Flint Water Crisis (FindLaw Blotter)