Home E-Weekly February 13, 2018

Lawsuit: All 4 Limbs Amputated Due to Gangrene Caused by Severed Bowel

Published: February 13, 2018

SEVERED Lisa-Maria Carter lost her limbs after a 2010 surgery in which her doctor severed her intestine.

A woman whose hands and feet had to be amputated from gangrene that she contracted when her surgeon severed her small bowel during an ovarian cyst removal won $109 million last month in a lawsuit against the University of South Florida Health, court records show.

Lisa-Maria Carter, a former intelligence analyst for the Department of Defense, filed the lawsuit in 2012 against Tampa General Hospital, the University of South Florida Health and her surgeon, Larry Glazerman, MD.

On Nov. 1, 2010, Ms. Carter went to Tampa General Hospital for a same-day procedure to remove an ovarian cyst, says the suit. Dr. Glazerman told her the laparoscopy would be minimally invasive and "with minimally adverse risks."

However, during the surgery, "(Dr.) Glazerman completely transected all the way through small bowel of (Ms.) Carter," and failed to notice what he'd done, the suit said. The error caused "flesh-eating bacteria to pour into her abdomen."

Almost a full day after the surgery, Ms. Carter was still in this hospital with several medical problems, including blood pressure that dropped to 67/48 and oxygen saturation that was only recorded at 88%, says the suit. When Ms. Carter tried to stand up at one point on Nov. 2, the laparoscopic incision, which had been made in her navel, opened and, "copious amounts of serosanguineous drainage came pouring out," says the suit.

Hospital staff failed to recognize that Ms. Carter had septic shock and failed to administer antibiotics or assess her abdomen immediately after she started showing serious medical issues, says the suit.

As a result of the error in surgery and of the lack of timely treatment, Ms. Carter's hands and feet were amputated below her knees and elbows. She is now living in a rehabilitation center and learning to perform basic tasks with prosthetic limbs, says the suit.

A jury hearing the case awarded Ms. Carter $109,760,930 last month. The Board of Trustees of the University of South Florida, the University of South Florida Health and the University of South Florida College of Medicine are all named in the decision. The hospital and surgeon, who were named as defendants in the lawsuit, were not.

"The University of South Florida has great sympathy for Ms. Carter and we recognize the life-changing injuries she has suffered," says USF spokeswoman Lara Wade-Martinez in a statement. "We also believe that the verdict that was delivered was not supported by the evidence. We will be carefully evaluating several grounds for appeal."

Anna Merriman and Daniel Cook

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