Patient Says VA Surgeon Was Incapacitated

ROANOKE, Va. (CN) – A surgeon with a long history of alcohol abuse severely injured a man during knee replacement surgery at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Salem, Va., the 71-year-old veteran claims in Federal Court.

     Hal Gibson Paxton, an Army vet, claims that Dr. James McLeod was incapacitated during his surgery, and had to leave after lacerating an artery and vein, sending Paxton to intensive care, where he needed more surgeries to repair the torn blood vessels. Paxton says McLeod had to leave the surgery after an hour and 20 minutes because he was incapacitated, and other doctors had to complete the more than 6-hour surgery. He says he was hospitalized for nearly a month after the botched operation.
     He claims McLeod injured him with “a laceration of the right popliteal artery and vein, an injury to the medial collateral ligament, a laceration to the gastrocnemius in excess of the usual case, and the anterior medial portion of the tibial plateau was broken off.”
     The complaint alleges that Dr. McLeod had numerous citations for driving under the influence and rehab trips as well as a stay in intensive care at his own hospital for treatment of alcoholic ketoacidosis.
     Paxton sued the United States, demanding $2 million for medical malpractice and negligent retention. He is represented by Anthony Russell with Gentry Locke Rakes & Moore.

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