Man Loses $19 Million Suit Claiming Surgery Caused Son's Brain Damage

A California man who claims his infant son was left brain-damaged after a surgery he never consented to lost a $19 million lawsuit against Childrens Hospital of Los Angeles and two of its doctors Tuesday.

Eduardo Rivas, 43, who speaks Spanish, said he never consented to the double-hernia surgery in 2007. He testified last week during the jury trial in Los Angeles County Supreme Court.

State investigators said the hospital couldn't supply any records to prove Rivas consented to the operation. The hospital says the Tujunga man gave his consent by phone.

The boy, Nathan Rivas, who was born four months prematurely, had the operation when he was 6 months old. Now nearly 3, he has the mental capacity of a baby and suffers from chronic lung disease and neurological problems.

Rivas believes the boy was brain-damaged by a bad reaction to anesthesia, but doctors say the child's complications were caused by his premature birth.

"We take comfort in the validation from the jury that we obtained Mr. Rivas' consent to perform surgery on his son and that we did what was medically necessary for Nathan," Steve Rutledge, a hospital spokesman, told the Los Angeles Times.

According to the newspaper, the judge ruled a report by the California Department of Health, which discovered the hospital couldn't provide a record of Rivas' consent, was inadmissible. The state also discovered that the hospital did not provide Rivas with a Spanish interpreter.

"We did our best," said Rivas' attorney, Nathaniel Friedman.

Click here to read more on this story from the Los Angeles Times.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.