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Elderly Man Suffers a Medical Golgotha

ROSEVILLE, Calif. (CN) - In a series of medical disasters, an elderly, paralyzed man claims in court, one doctor failed to diagnose his broken neck, another doctor botched his spinal surgery, then poor nursing in a care center gave him "an irreparable split penis."

Frank Tapia sued Dr. Thomas Dolkas, Dr. Derek Taggard and Pine Creek Care Center, in Placer County Court.

Tapia, an elder, dependent adult, fell in his home in Auburn, Calif., on Jan. 9, 2012, according to the complaint.

He says he complained of "severe neck pain and numbness and tingling in his upper extremities" to his primary care physician, Dolkas. But he claims that Dolkas, "knowing of Frank Tapia's severe pain and potential serious consequences, did not order any X-rays or an MRI even when Tapia's head began to droop, that it essentially was resting on his chest. Due to the failure to promptly order X-rays or an MRI and diagnose Frank Tapia with a broken neck, plaintiff suffered irreversible spinal nerve damage and is now paralyzed from the neck down," according to the complaint.

That was just the beginning, according to the complaint. Tapia claims that Dr. Taggard "negligently performed cervical spine surgery on Frank Tapia, which resulted in further irreparable nerve damage which has now caused permanent paralysis to Frank Tapia from the neck down."

(There appears to be an error of date in the complaint. Tapia claims he saw Dr. Dolkas after his fall on Jan. 9, 2012, and that Dr. Taggard performed the spinal surgery "on or about Jan. 19, 2011." This evidently is an error for 2012, as the same sentence claims the surgery caused "further irreparable nerve damage".)

Paralyzed from the neck down, Tapia says, "he needed to be cared for at all times by skilled nursing. He then began to reside at Pine Creek Care Center," in Roseville.

At Pine Creek, he claims, he "sustained numerous urinary tract infections that have caused him numerous hospitalizations. Further, his catheter care became so poor that the nursing staff at Pine Creek Care Center inadvertently pulled out his catheter causing his penis to split and thereafter attempted to hide the injury from the plaintiff and his family over the next several weeks until the accompanying infection became so bad as to require his hospitalization. He has had numerous infections, which have resulted in him having fevers of over 104 degrees. He has also suffered multiple bedsores including severe stage III and IV wounds covering his buttocks and sacrum."

He seeks punitive damages for elder abuse, negligence and professional negligence. He is represented by Mark Redmond of Sacramento.

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