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Nervous System Health

Lawsuit alleges doctor operated on wrong side of patient’s brain

A St. Louis neurosurgeon allegedly operated on the wrong side of a woman’s skull and brain, and now she is suing the doctor and hospital where the procedure took place, St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

Regina Turner, 53, of St. Ann, Mo., can’t speak intelligibly as a result of the error, her lawyer, Alvin Wolff Jr. said.

Turner was supposed to have a left-sided craniotomy bypass at St. Clare Health Center in Fenton on April 4, according to the lawsuit, which was filed in the Circuit Court of St. Louis County in Clayton.

However, Turner was given a right-sided craniotomy surgical procedure, according to the suit. Once the doctors realized the error, a second operation took place six days later and surgeons performed the left-sided craniotomy.

The lawsuit accuses SSM Health Care-St. Louis, which owns St. Clare Health Center, and the neurosurgeon, who is identified only as “A.L.,” of negligence and carelessness, which “led to a wrong-site surgery,” according to the newspaper.

Wolff identified the neurosurgeon as Dr. Armond Levy, 46.

Kristen Johnson, a spokeswoman for SSM, confirmed to the Post-Dispatch that Levy is an employee of the company, and that he has staff privileges at St. Mary’s Health Center and DePaul Health Center.

The suit alleges that Turner was able to take care of herself prior to the surgery, and now she needs “around the clock care for her basic needs. …(She) will also continue to suffer from emotional distress, anxiety, disfigurement and depression.”

SSM officials declined to comment about the lawsuit.

The hospital is “committed to patient safety and the highest-quality health care,” said Bill Hoefer, president of St. Clare Health Center. “If a medical error does occur, we take it very seriously. We investigate thoroughly to see what processes can be changed to prevent it from ever happening again, and then we make those changes immediately.”

Levy is one of seven board-certified neurosurgeons affiliated with SSM Neurosciences Institute, according to the St. Clare website.

The lawsuit alleges that SSM staff did not set up the operating room correctly, and “stood by and watched A.L. operate on the wrong side of the plantiff’s skull and brain when they could have prevented the error.”

The lawsuit is asking for punitive damages “sufficient to punish” SSM and A.L. for their “complete indifference to or conscious disregard for the safety of Regina Turner.”

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