Uninsured Patient Describes Days of Agony After Botched Surgery
DALLAS (CN) - An uninsured man who paid his doctor in cash claims in court that the doctor botched his hernia surgery, severed his colon, gave him animal tranquilizer and called him a whiner and a baby for complaining of a botch job that left him with gangrenous intestines, minus a testicle, and with a colostomy bag.
Pedro Hermenegildo sued Dr. Ricardo Rocha, Rocha General Medicine Clinic and the Medical Center of McKinney, in Dallas County Court.
Hermenegildo claims he had no medical insurance, so he paid Rocha cash for a hernia surgery. He says Rocha decided to perform it at his clinic rather than at a hospital or another appropriate facility.
"It was a small room with the usual brown reclining chair covered with white paper," the complaint states. "There were no other means of sanitizing the room. There was also no anesthesiologist present."
Hermenegildo says the only "anesthesia" he got was Ketamine, a local numbing agent that veterinarians use on animals.
"Rocha either did not know what he was doing or was simply unable to perform the procedure with ordinary prudence," the complaint states. What was supposed to be a painless outpatient procedure lasting one hour or less turned into an exceedingly painful eight hour ordeal. The pain Pedro experienced was excruciating because the animal tranquilizer used by Roach was ineffctive.
"Ultimately, Rocha called it quits. Rocha wanted to go home and told Pedro he needed to leave the clininc. Pedro was in no condition to leave. If not for the swift intervention of Pedro's pastor, who also happens to be a Dallas police officer, Pedro would have been booted out of the clinic and left to fend for himself. Although Rocha reluctantly agreed to permit Pedro to stay in the clinic overnight, he send him home the next day."
Back home, Hermenegildo says, he deteriorated and "his pain was unbearable. He "screamed in agony and even passed out from the pain." He or his family called 911 and due to his "precarious position, Pedro had to be extracted from the house through his bedroom window." He was taken to the emergency room at the Medical Center of McKinney, with "among other things, unbelievable pain and a grotesquely swollen scrotum," according to the complaint.
The complaint continues: "Ostensibly because he did not have insurance, the Medical Center of McKinney did not make a proper medical evaluation to assess Pedro's condition. The Medical Center of McKinney sent Pedro on his way relatively soon after his arrival and simply told him to take basic medication for pain and inflammation.
"At the insistence of the family, Rocha paid a visit to the Hermenegildo home. Instead of performing any kind of examination or rendering any medical care, Rocha belittled Pedro by calling him a 'whiner and complainer.' Rocha assured the family Pedro was fine and that he was just acting like a 'big baby.'"
After another night of agony, Hermenegildo's wife took him to Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. There they found that "Pedro's situation was dire," the complaint states. "His lower abdomen was filled with fecal matter. An immediate surgery was needed to prevent his imminent death.
"During the emergency surgery, it was discovered that Rocha severed Pedro's colon. In a futile attempt to repair the damage, Rocha tied off Pedro's colon far too tightly, cutting off needed circulation. As a result, in addition to removing widespread fecal matter from Pedro's abdomen, the emergency surgery involved the removal of 6 to 12 inches of decayed colon. One of Pedro's testicles also had to be removed. ... The complications associated with extraction of gangrenous intestines also left Pedro with a colostomy bag."
He seeks actual and punitive damages for medical negligence, gross negligence, pain and suffering, disfigurement, and lost wages and earning capacity. He is represented by Jason Berent of Dallas.