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University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics slapped with $6 million malpractice claim over patient's skull injury

Legal documents filed with the state last week from the patient's attorney allege her neurosurgeon operated unnecessarily on the tumor.

Jeff Lagasse, Associate Editor

University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City (Google Earth)University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City (Google Earth)

A patient accusing her brain surgeon of carelessness is asking for $6 million from the state of Iowa after her treatment at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics led to what she claims is a permanent, debilitating condition, according to a report in The Des Moines Register.

The alleged incident occured in 2015 when 77-year-old Ardeth Wray was treated for a noncancerous tumor on the lining of her brain. Legal documents filed with the state last week from Wray's attorney allege that neurosurgeon Jeremy Greenlee operated unnecessarily on the tumor.

The documents said that, prior to the surgery, Wray had staph bacteria in her nose that wasn't treated with antibiotics, which led to a postoperative infection around a section of her skull that had been removed and replaced with titanium mesh.

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According to the documents, Wray was readmitted to the hospital less than 30 days after the initial procedure, at which point Greenlee allegedly reopened the wound, cleaning and reusing the existing mesh. The documents said an infection control expert told Greenlee he should replace the mesh, though ultimately he never did.

Wray was readmitted again in January 2016, complaining of a headache was well as drainage and piece of wire sticking out of the surgical site. That, the documents claim, led to another operation in which mesh that was stuck to Wray's brain was removed, resulting in a stroke that left Wray unable to speak or live on her own.

The claim was submitted to the State Appeal Board, which decides whether to pay settlements to people who say they were harmed by state agencies. The claims can be filed as lawsuits in district court if no settlement is reached. The hospital said it does not comment on pending legal matters.

Twitter: @JELagasse

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