Editor’s note: due to the personal nature of the claims made in this lawsuit, the Tri-Cities NOW has decided to protect the patient’s privacy by identifying him by his initials, rather than his full name.
An alleged botched surgery has landed the lone Tri-Cities hospital and one of its surgeons in court.
According to a notice of civil claim filed in Supreme Court, G.M. is suing the Fraser Health Authority on behalf of Eagle Ridge Hospital, Dr. Mark Matishak, and four nurses, for injuries related to a back procedure done in 2011.
Court documents state that, in the spring of 2011, G.M., who is listed as a maintenance worker, sought treatment for longstanding back pain and was diagnosed with lumbar spinal stenosis at L3-4 and L4-5.
On Nov. 7, 2011, court documents state G.M. was operated on by Dr. Matishak at Eagle Ridge Hospital.
The doctor performed a decompressive laminectomy at the L3 to L5 levels.
The purpose of the operation was to relieve pressure on the spinal cord caused by the stenosis.
Documents state the nurses, listed in the suit as H. Snyder, M. Calderon, D. Magel and N. Spassous, also participated in the procedure.
The lawsuit alleges that when Dr. Matishak was drilling a small amount of bone at L3, he “breached the dura causing an approximate eight millimeter tear.”
The claim said the doctor attempted to repair the dura tear using sutures and fibrin glue.
The claim also stated G.M. remained on bed rest for several days after the procedure.
The plaintiff displayed anemia and needed medication for meningitis.
His post-operative diagnosis was lumbar spinal stenosis, post-operative cerebrospinal fluid leak, and neurogenic bowel and bladder.
The suit claims since the tear incurred during the procedure, G.M. has suffered a serious nerve root injury and developed urinary and fecal incontinence and erectile dysfunction.
The suit claims his prognosis is “guarded.”
The suit alleges Dr. Matishak breached his duty of care owed to G.M. by failing to use reasonable operative skill during the procedure and failing to provide the plaintiff with a reasonable quality of care.
Similarly, the suit alleges the four nurses breached their duty of care by failing to provide care of reasonable and prudent nurses in the circumstances during the operative procedure.
None of the allegations have been proven in court and none of the other parties have filed a response.
A spokesperson for Fraser Health said the health authority couldn't comment because the case is before the courts.
The claim states the damage continues to cause G.M. pain, suffering and loss of enjoyment of life.
He is also no longer able to work.
G.M. is seeking compensation for general damages, loss of earnings capacity, special damages and costs.
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