The Limited Times

Now you can see non-English news...

Surgeon Diagnosed With Neurological Disorder Accused Of Causing Hundreds Of Injuries, Lawsuits Say


This orthopedic surgeon in Florida caused "hundreds of devastating injuries" while showing signs of having a neurological condition, court documents allege.

By Elizabeth


An orthopedic surgeon in Florida caused “hundreds of devastating injuries” while his hospital ignored patient complaints for years after the professional began showing signs of a progressive neurological disorder, according to court documents.

Between 2016 and 2020, patients noted that Dr. Richard David Heekin slurred his words and had “difficulties with balance, inability to concentrate, outbursts of anger, erratic behavior, gait disturbances, and impaired judgment and mental status.” of spirit,” according to court documents.

[Study Finds Vitamin D Supplements Do Not Prevent Bone Fractures in Healthy Adults]

Suspected mistakes made during surgeries include broken bones, torn tendons and severed nerves.

The resulting complications were significant.

Many patients required revision surgeries, and at least one person died from surgery problems, according to civil complaints.

The legal actions name Heekin, his clinic and Ascension St. Vincent's Riverside Hospital in Jacksonville, Florida, as defendants.

J. Brent Allen, the attorney for St. Vincent's Riverside, declined to comment on the allegations, while Jep Barbour, an attorney for Heekin and Heekin Clinic, did not immediately respond to phone calls and emails from NBC News.

Attempts to contact Heekin were also unsuccessful.

The entrance to Ascension St. Vincent's Riverside Hospital in Jacksonville, Florida.

Several families and patients sued an orthopedic surgeon at that medical center.Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images

Heekin primarily performed knee and hip replacements, operations that typically don't carry a high rate of major complications for patients, a 2020 study published in the journal BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders found.

So far, 350 lawsuits have been filed, with at least 100 more expected by the end of the year, Daniel Harwin, who represents the alleged victims, told NBC News in an exclusive interview.

"They had a reasonable expectation that their lives would get better," Harwin said of Heekin's patients.

[A 13-year-old boy fights for his life after contracting the 'brain-eating amoeba' in Florida]

One of the most extreme complications cited in court documents occurred to Lucinda Bonk, 70, who died in September 2018 after a hip replacement that took longer than expected because Heekin allegedly fractured her femur during surgery.

After Heekin attempted to repair the fracture, Bonk's vital signs began to decline, Harwin said.

His death certificate, which was seen by NBC News, lists complications from a fractured femur as his cause of death.

Lucinda Bonk and her family on a cruise they took in June 2018, three months before she died after undergoing hip replacement surgery. Courtesy of the Bonk family.

When Bonk met Heekin, he hadn't aroused any suspicion, said Anthony Bonk, her husband of 42 years.

Speaking to NBC News in his first public comments on the case, Anthony Bonk said Heekin wasn't very nice, but expressed confidence that he could fix his wife's hip.

The morning of her surgery, Bonk was feeling optimistic, her husband recalled.

"She just wanted me to hold her hand during and after the surgery," he said.

"Needless to say, I didn't have that opportunity."

“She just wanted me to hold her hand during and after the surgery.

Needless to say, I didn't get that opportunity."

Anthony Bonk, Husband of Lucinda Bonk

Instead, Anthony Bonk said he watched as staff frantically tried to resuscitate his wife after the operation.

“It still hits me today,” she added, her voice cracking.

"You never get over it."

Among the other alleged victims were patients whose surgery left them with one leg shorter than the other, because Heekin had allegedly selected an incorrectly sized femoral component for the hip replacement.

Other patients had nerve damage so severe that they ended up with a permanent "foot drop," the documents say, referring to difficulty lifting the ball of the foot off the ground.

On video: The last girl who remained hospitalized for the Uvalde massacre is discharged

July 29, 202200:26

A rare brain disorder

According to court documents, Heekin had progressive supranuclear palsy, which the Mayo Clinic describes as a rare brain disorder that causes severe problems with walking, balance and eye movement, and eventually swallowing.

The disease worsens over time.

No details were released about when or if hospital officials realized Heekin might have the condition.

Several doctors and nurses raised concerns about Heekin's ability to operate, court documents say.

These individuals expressed their concerns to those in management positions at St. Vincent's Riverside Hospital, but the hospital even "forced at least one nurse who asked not to be in the room with him to continue to perform surgery on Heekin when they knew that it was a risk to patient safety,” according to court records.

Through its attorney, Ascension St. Vincent's Riverside Hospital declined to comment.

[Biden Administration Ships Monkeypox Vaccines to San Francisco]

Heekin had performed thousands of successful surgeries before 2016, court documents say.

He ended his surgical career in 2020, when he retired of his own volition, Harwin said.

The first trial in the case, a consolidated proceeding for six plaintiffs, is scheduled for August 2023, Harwin said.

Anthony Bonk said he hopes his wife's death will force medical institutions to review their practices.

“You trust them.

That's what they're in business for,” she said.

Source: telemundo

All news articles on 2022-07-31

You may like

Life/Entertain 2022-06-01T06:14:58.308Z
Life/Entertain 2022-06-02T10:22:46.892Z

Trends 24h


© Communities 2019 - Privacy