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Monday, June 24, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Real Chutzpah in Texas

MIDLAND, Texas (CN) - A Texas doctor did surgery on the wrong knee before he moved on to the correct one - then charged the patient for both surgeries, a man claims in court.

Michael Aguilar sued The Orthopedic Institute of Midland dba Texas Surgical Center, and Dr. Jerry L. Cochran, in Midland County Court.

Aguilar claims that Cochran ordered MRI scans of both knees, and "determined that patient did not need surgery on his right knee," but did need surgery for "a torn medial meniscus of the left knee."

Aguilar was admitted to the Texas Surgical Center on Jan. 31, where he repeatedly told staff members that he was in for surgery on his left knee. They shaved his left leg from his shin to his thigh and had him write "YES" on his left knee.

Despite all this, Aguilar says, "Defendant Jerry L. Cochran, M.C., proceeded to operate on the incorrect knee-patient's right knee. Immediately upon realizing his mistake, defendant Dr. Cochran left the operating room and apologized to patient's mother. Dr. Cochran explained his error, and then asked patient's mother if she still wanted him to operate on patient's injured left knee, which was the intended surgical site. Patient's mother allowed the second surgery to go forward on the originally scheduled surgical site as patient could barely walk due to the condition of his left knee. Defendant Dr. Cochran then proceeded with the originally scheduled operation on patient's left knee.

"On Jan. 31, 2010, defendant Dr. Cochran admitted in his post-operative note that he had intended to perform the operation on patient's left knee, but instead operated on the right knee. Subsequently, patient received a bill containing charges for both surgeries-one charge for the right knee, and one charge for the originally scheduled procedure on the left knee. Since undergoing the surgical procedures, patient has consistently suffered pain in both knees."

Aguilar seeks damages and punitive damages for mental anguish, pain and suffering, physical disfigurement, lost earnings, and gross negligence. He is represented by Robert Wharton with McIver Brown, of Houston.

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