Memorial Hermann Pearland sued by tracheostomy patient who says he mistakenly got spinal surgery

PEARLAND, Texas (KTRK) -- A Pearland man filed a lawsuit against Memorial Hermann Pearland Hospital after his attorney claimed hospital staff performed a surgery the man was never ordered to have, which ultimately caused him spinal cord damage.

The video above is from a related story.

It all started when Derrick James went to the hospital back in July 2019 after experiencing problems with his breathing. He said he was in a coma for about six days.

James said doctors later told him that he most likely had a walking pneumonia, but he said that's when a nurse noticed something.

"A nurse noticed an incision on my back, and she said 'Oh my God, what's this?,'" said James.

James said he never went to the hospital with any back issues and has no idea why he would end up with an incision running down his back.

"It was sort of nerve-racking and terrifying at the same time," he said. "You go into the hospital with one thing and all of a sudden you see an incision when you weren't supposed to."

Attorney Israel G. Perez III is representing James in a lawsuit against the multibillion dollar hospital.

Perez said there are no medical records that show James was ever in an operating room or that a surgery was ever ordered.

"It's scary really," Perez said. "There's two things we expect hospitals to do, operate on people they should be operating on. If you do operate on the wrong person, be honest and not to lie."

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James filed the lawsuit against Memorial Hermann Pearland on July 20. James has asked the hospital to pay for his treatment related to the spinal cord damages.

"Mr. James, a Black man, knows all too well the mistreatment of Black Americans by the medical community," Perez said in a statement. "Mr. James's experience of receiving an errant incision down his back are further evidence of the disparity in treatment hospitals provide racial minorities."

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Perez also said James will have to go to physical therapy due to the impaired use of his legs.

Eyewitness News reached out to Memorial Hermann for comment. They issued the following statement:

"Memorial Hermann is unable to comment on pending litigation. It's important to note, however, that Memorial Hermann complies with applicable federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of age, race, ethnicity, color, national origin, religion, culture, language, physical or mental disability, socioeconomic status, sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity or expression."
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