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Friday, July 22, 2011

A medical malpractice story, part 2.

The thing that did not change was the pain. It stayed the same.

The lawsuit was initiated in 1981. By that time I had had more surgeries to try and stop the pain.

The next one is the most relevant to the medical malpractice. It was to be similar to Dr. Osterholm's so very successful one.

Dr. Wilson entered the skull through the same area as Dr. Osterhom and Dr. Jannetta. He also found numerous blood vessels that were not supposed to be there. The operation was in the summer. Because summer weather was always easier on me, no wind and rare breeze, the pain was always somewhat better. I could not tell if it was summer or the operation that gave me slight relief. Within 3 months the pain was back to the pre-operative (winter, spring, fall) level. It would stay there for years and of course, the eye usage and movement pain still remains.

Why does this matter?

My lawyer received copies of the records from Dr. Jannetta as well as Dr. Wilson and the others. Dr. Wilson's surgical report was an eye opener. He wrote "I cannot do the (procedure I wanted) because of all the scar tissue in the area." He also noted he removed an acrylic plate.

The problem was neither Dr. Jannetta nor Dr. Gendell, his resident, noted the scar tissue. That meant it was not left over from Dr. Osterholm. The only explanation was it was from the Jannetta procedure. The other thing missing from the surgical report was mention of the surgical plate, put in by Dr. Osterholm and removed by Dr. Wilson.

All three surgeons had been in the exact same place. My brain is not that big. The plate had to have been obvious but Dr. Jannetta had not noted it in his notes. Maybe the reason was because Dr. Jannetta was allegedly across town with his son who was having an emergency appendectomy at the same time I was in the OR.

Dr. Jannetta has admitted, unabashedly, in his biography, WORKING IN A VERY SMALL PLACE, allowing a resident to operate on a woman who had just given birth. She had a brain tumor. The surgery was unsuccessful, she died on the table. Dr. Jannetta relates that when the resident called to tell him the patient had died he had to come into the hospital: he had not only not been in the OR, he was not in the building. It looked like the same thing happened with my surgery, that Dr. Gendell and not Dr. Jannetta had been the surgeon.

Because of the scar tissue Dr. Wilson was unable to help me. Had he been able to complete the operation he intended and his surgery not helped that would have been the chance you take. Had Dr. Jannetta's surgery not worked that would have been the chance you take.

The problem was that was not the chance I had signed up for. I consented to Dr. Jannetta's operation - to be done safely by Dr. Jannetta.

The pain could not be helped because the area was no longer available to that help because of the scar tissue.

So that was where I stood: Facial paralyis, an eye sewn shut, an inability to eat in public or drink from a glass, people staring at me, fear that I might inadvertantly catch a glimpse of myself in a mirror or storefront window. And surgical avenues to the extra blood vessels that caused the pain no longer safely reachable.

It was now completely in the hands of my lawyer.


  1. Oh Carol, since 1981???? That is truly awful. And once you have to go through the lawyers, it just stretches out forever!

    I am so sorry you have had to go through all of this. Have I asked you before if you would consider writing a chapter for the book I am working on? It will be a compilation of stories by people with chronic diseases, mostly invisible, but in your case I assume it is somewhat visible or there is scarring. That would be okay though. I find your story fascinating and heartbreaking at the same time.

    If you are interested, please contact me at or on my website at

    And if you have already answered this question, please forgive me. I am on a lot of meds and they mess with my mind. I am trying to keep all of my authors straight, but it's quite a job!


  2. Hi Chelle, you have asked me but I have been bad and not been working on it. ):
    People get the idea, from TV I think, that you start a case and it usually is done within maybe a year or so. Not the reality, or at least mine.
    Glad you have a lot of folk repsonding. I promise I will start working on one to send you. gentle hugs.

  3. This is one tragic mishap. I hope that you are finding the necessary and proper medical attention that you deserve a long time ago. Clearly, the doctor to whom you entrusted the surgery should have been the one who executed the operation. You should consult a different lawyer. Seek for the best personal injury lawyer to help you overcome this. There are great lawyers out there, who show professionalism and have the knowledge and patience to provide you with legal assistance. Thanks for posting! Wishing you the best!

  4. Jonie,
    I have not thought about this post in a bit. I had to check and see if I had written the rest of the story (which I did).
    Thankfully between medicare and private insurance I am able to afford the continued care necessary. (Well, BC/BS has always considered what is reconstructive to be cosmetic but absent that....)
    Unfortunately my experience with attoreys has been almost exclusively negative. I wish that was not so.
    Thank you for reading, posting, and your good wishes. Carol

  5. Hi Carol! I suffer from TN. I have seen all of your videos. I am so very sorry this happened to you. I know what you are going through an extent. Can you call or email me? 469.301.4442 or I would really appreciate it if you have the time. You are in my prayers. Sometimes I felt all I have left are prayers. By the way, you are beautiful inside and out. Kept telling your story. We are listening to you. What an inspiration you are and even evil can be used for good. I pray for God's will to be done. Maybe that's complete healing??!! Only he knows. :) look forward to hearing from you.