Man says hospital lost part of his skull

August 7, 2008 4:14:01 PM PDT
It was a surgery that saved his life, but a man claims doctors at UTMB in Galveston took part of his skull and never replaced it. Now an area hospital is facing a lawsuit. The nurse's notes we saw tell of a massive operation -- removing a whole section of skull to save a man's life. But it's what happened after that surgery that has the patient suing the hospital.

"He's a 50 something year-old man walking around with a deformity on his head," said Tony Buzbee, who's representing patient Marvin Simmons. "I think anyone would understand that that's going to affect you mentally and physically."

Simmons was treated at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston last year after suffering a stroke. To relieve pressure on his brain, doctors had to remove a 4x8 inch piece of his skull. For several months, Simmons wore a helmet, believing the whole time that his skull bone would be put back, only to find out the bone had been lost and the skull was replaced by a piece of titanium mesh.

"The stroke itself was bad enough, but this really adds insult to injury," said Buzbee.

In a statement released by the hospital, a spokesperson writes, "It is the goal of the UTMB to provide the highest quality of care to all of our patients at all times. We have not yet had the opportunity to review the specific allegations regarding this matter, thus we are unable to comment further at this time."

Simmons' attorney says the hospital's actions have not only left his client deformed, but emotionally traumatized. He's suing for both actual and punitive damages.

"The money's secondary," said Buzbee. "We want them to tighten up their internal procedures. Like I said, there's nothing that can be done money-wise to fix his head."

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