There is no such thing as “easy” surgery. When we go under the knife, we’re placing our trust in the skilled and experienced hands of our surgeons; although most cases go off without a hitch, sometimes things go wrong. For Lesa Swanson, the situation was even worse: when her doctor incorrectly placed four screws during her spinal surgery, she claims he lied about the experience.
“This represents the worst screw placement I have ever seen in a lumbar spine,” Dr. J. Bob Blacklock, a neurosurgeon at the Texas Medical Center in Houston, said in an expert opinion of the case.
Though the concept of the screw has been around since 200 B.C., only special screws are used in the spine; if they are not perfectly placed, they can end up damaging the vital nerves of the spinal cord. X-rays of Swanson’s back prove that three of the six pedicle screws used during the surgery were drilled into her spinal nerves. However, the doctor in question, Dr. Anil Kumar Kesani, reported in his post-surgical documentation that they were in the correct position.
“These grossly improper placements were clearly demonstrated on a final fluoroscopic image taken in the operating room, yet nothing was done to remediate this terrible situation,” Blacklock said. “Dr. Kesani either did not understand this imaging, understood it and ignored it, or did not see it.”
When Swanson complained of pain, Kesani said she needed another surgery; he removed two of the screws causing a cavity to form near her spine that sent scattered bone through the right side of the spinal canal. According to the lawsuit, he did not explain what occurred during the first surgery and proceeded to document that Swanson had normal strength and sensation “when that was clearly not the case.”
Kesani has had four other suits filed against him alleging malpractice; one was dismissed but the remaining three are ongoing. Swanson is seeking damages over one million dollars as she cannot feel her right foot, her right calf, or part of her right thigh at all, and she cannot stand on her right foot alone without falling.