The good news is local doctors were successful in removing a blood suction device found inside the chest cavity of a Dawson Springs, Ky., woman who had traveled to Nashville in early 2010 to undergo a coronary bypass operation.
The bad news, according to the June 13 complaint filed by Novella Lee and her husband Billy, is that somebody in the operating room inadvertently dropped — or accidentally left — a 18–inch tubular-shaped cardiotomy suction instrument inside Mrs. Lee, a fact discovered days later upon x-ray. Doctors quickly operated again and removed the device, a successful procedure. Both surgeries occurred in February 2010.
The complaint, filed in Davidson County Circuit Court, accuses Dr. John W. Lea, Cardiovascular Surgery Associates and Saint Thomas Hospital of medical negligence.
The complaint states the defendants “...were negligent in the care and treatment of Mrs. Lee by failure to properly account for all surgical implements used during the procedure…….and prior to completing the procedure closed the surgical site on Mrs. Lee failing to timely discover the cardiotomy sucker left inside…”
A different Saint Thomas Hospital surgeon removed the suction device from Lee’s chest, and did not charge the beleaguered patient — a warranted gesture but apparently not quite enough.
The Lees want compensatory damages, discretionary costs, court costs, actual economic losses including medical care costs, rehabilitation services and loss of income — all to be determined by the court.
Richard D. Piliponis, of the Nashville–based Higgins Law Firm, represents the Lee family. Piliponis could not be reached immediately for comment Friday.
Saint Thomas officials also could not be reached immediately for comment late Friday.