Friday, January 23, 2004

Pennsylvania Dentist loses license, now in jail

Jenny Stephens of Lansdale PA successfully sued an Ambler dentist for medical malpractice after finding out he performed a tooth extraction on her despite the fact that he “had bipolar disorder and an alcohol dependency that was under investigation by the Pennsylvania medical board concerning his fitness to practice dentistry‚” according to her lawsuit.

A tooth extraction performed by Dr. Gary William Pacropis in May 2000 left her unable to continue to perform her regular work. The procedure damaged the trigeminal nerve in her mouth‚ her jawbone became infected‚ and the right side of her mouth now droops down.
“It appears as if I had a stroke‚” Stephens said. “My life totally changed as I know it‚ and even talking hurts. Before this happened‚ I was always front and center.” Her only solution now is brain surgery‚ a risky procedure she won’t consider despite the fact that she lives with constant pain.

Stephens said she doesn’t know what she would’ve done had she not sued Pacropis‚ who in her words‚ “mutilated my mouth” during a routine tooth extraction in May 2000. “I’d be bankrupt‚” she said “I’d be penniless and I would lose everything I worked hard for all my life.”

Pacropis’ dental license was indefinitely suspended in February 2002‚ after he pleaded guilty to “crimes or misdemeanors involving moral turpitude‚” according to The Pennsylvania State Department’s Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs. Pacropis’ medical license was revoked permanently in August 2002 after he pleaded guilty and was sentenced in July 2002 for his fifth drunken-driving arrest in Montgomery County‚ according to court records. He remains in Montgomery County prison‚ according to county prison officials.

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.