Monday, January 19, 2004

2 Doctors Sue for Malpractice

When two St. Clair County Illinois doctors were so seriously injured after their surgeries that they could no longer practice medicine, they filed medical malpractice suits. Dr. Larry Alves has heard his colleagues complain about high jury awards and sky-rocketing malpractice insurance rates and he empathizes with them. But he also knows firsthand the price of substandard medical care.

So does Dr. Donald Jerome, an ear, nose and throat specialist who practiced in Belleville, who underwent surgery on Nov. 21, 1997 on his neck to fuse two vertebrae. During the surgery, two surgical nurses pointed out a crack in the surgical drill to neurosurgeon Dr. William Sprich, but Sprich used the drill anyway, the complaint alleged.

A small piece of a drill broke off during the procedure and became lodged in Jerome's spine, according to court records, but Sprich completed the surgery without removing the metal. Jerome suffered permanent vocal chord paralysis, nerve damage, esophageal reflux and coughing spells.
Because of his medical condition, Jerome couldn't continue practicing medicine.

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