HEALTHY LIVING

Regina Turner Brain Surgery: Lawsuit Alleges Missouri Doctor Performed Wrong-Sided Craniotomy

05/03/2013 07:23 pm ET | Updated Jul 03, 2013

A lawsuit filed on behalf of a Missouri woman accuses a doctor of performing surgery on the wrong side of the patient's brain in April.

Regina Turner, a 53-year old former paralegal, went to the SSM St. Clare Health Center near St. Louis, to get a "left-sided craniotomy bypass" operation, the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports.

Turner had begun to suffer strokes about five years ago, and the operation was intended to prevent future strokes, the Dispatch says. Instead, Turner received a craniotomy surgery on the other side of her brain, the suit states.

"Before the incorrect surgery, [Turner] was mobile, cognizant, and able to care for herself," according to court documents provided to The Huffington Post by Turner's lawyer, Alvin Wolff. "After the incorrect surgery, [Turner] requires around the clock care for her basic needs."

The lawsuit, which also names SSM Heath Care St. Louis, only names the surgeon as "A.L." However, the Dispatch reports, according to Wolff, the offending surgeon is 46-year-old neurosurgeon Dr. Armond Levy.

"I think everybody in the operating room screwed up. I think somehow her head was marked for the correct side," Wolff told NBC affiliate KSDK. "The incorrect side was prepped for surgery. A whole surgery was performed, and nobody noticed that the side was wrong."

The hospital's CEO and president, Chris Howard, apologized for the mistake, The Associated Press reports.

"This was a breakdown in our procedures, and it absolutely should not have happened. We apologized to the patient and continue to work with the patient and family to resolve this issue with fairness and compassion," Howard said, according to the AP.

Howard also said an internal investigation is underway, and that the hospital is implementing measures to ensure against a similar error occurring in the future.

The lawsuit alleges that Levy and his medical team acted with "complete indifference to or conscious disregard for the safety of Regina Turner."

The suit asks for at least $25,000 to be awarded to Turner, in addition to her medical costs, which are still unknown. Turner will continue to suffer emotional distress, anxiety, disfigurement and depression, the claim states.

Clarification: The amount of $25,000 is just the jurisdictional amount. Wolff told HuffPost that he is asking for more, but exactly how much more is unclear at this time.

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