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Worker Blames Hospital|for Broken Back

LONGVIEW, Texas (CN) - A surgical technician claims he broke his back moving a 400-lb. patient without adequate help, and that the Regional Hospital of Longview, which did not carry workers' compensation insurance, fired him for his trouble.

Noel Donaghy sued the Regional Hospital of Longview, claiming its understaffing failed to provide him with a safe place to work.

Donaghy was assisting with a surgical patient in the hospital's operating room on Jan. 10, 2010 when he broke his back, he says.

"The patient, who weighed approximately 400 pounds, needed to be moved from the surgery table to a gurney," according to the complaint in Gregg County Court. "One of the defendant's employees called for assistance. No response. The employee called again. No response. Longview Regional's employee called a third time. Again, there was no response. At that point, the anesthesiologist insisted that the patient be transferred from the surgical table to the gurney for the safety of the patient. Plaintiff sustained a broken back at the L5 level when he performed as instructed and without sufficient number of personnel present to safely move this patient."

He says a surgeon inserted rods, screws and caps in his back to stabilize it, then inserted a plate, screws and a spacer in his back during a second operation.

"Despite the profitability of the Longview Regional Hospital facility, the defendant purposely chose not to subscribe to workers' compensation insurance for the protection of its employees," Donaghy says.

He says the surgeon who operated on his back did not release him to return to his job as a surgical tech, and the hospital did not offer him another job.

Five months after his second surgery, he says, "showing their appreciation for his work, Regional Hospital of Longview, LLC terminated Noel from his position due to his physical inability to perform his job through no fault of his own."

Donaghy seeks damages for negligence.

He is represented by Rex Nichols and Greg Love, both of Longview.

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