Complete story online at: https://www.oregonlive.com/news/2020/02/kaiser-sunnyside-surgery-removed-mans-healthy-brain-tissue-not-his-tumor-25-million-suit-says.html?fbclid=IwAR13GRZxr6HYiQKnBfyjcrfT0_IxwL3psfNWfPC3Dpp3HdNR4qyL0eqsBT0
A Kaiser Permanente neurosurgeon removed a healthy part of a patient’s brain instead of a tumor, causing permanent brain damage that left the man unable to read or write, according to a lawsuit filed Friday in Multnomah County Circuit Court.
Dane Brandon Zimmer, 46, is seeking $25 million. The lawsuit, filed on Zimmer’s behalf by a conservator, alleges that a 2018 surgery at Kaiser Sunnyside Hospital left Zimmer with permanent brain damage. Full article is at the above web link.
The lawsuit which was filed is online at: https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/6777141/Complaint.pdf
This is not arbitration involved.
On or about February 19, 2018, Dane Zimmer presented to Kaiser Sunnyside Hospital emergency room with increasing agitation, confusion, headaches, and difficulty walking within stability and a shuffling gate.
A CT scan of his brain revealed a large cystic cerebellar mass causing a mass effect with obstructive hydrocephalus. 7.After the CT scan revealed the presence of the cerebellar mass, Kaiser assigned a neurosurgeon to assess the need for surgery to remove the mass. Charles Joseph Wrobel, M.D.consulted on the case and noted the presence of the mass on the CT scan, which he described as likely a “left cystic cerebellar astrocytoma, the nodule is superior, paramedian, just beneath the tentorium.” The cerebellar tentorium or tentorium cerebelli (Latin for “tent of the cerebellum”)is an extension of the dura mater that separates the cerebellum from the inferior portion of the occipital lobes of the cerebrum of the brain. Dr. Wrobel suspected the mass was a hemangioblastoma, a slow growing, benign tumor, which can cause problems because of the space it occupies in a person’s brain. In Dane Zimmer’s case, the tumor was causing obstructive hydrocephalus. For these reasons, the decision was made to take Dane Zimmer to surgery for a craniotomy of the posterior fossa to remove the mass from his cerebellum .
The morning of February 21, 2018, Dr. Wrobel saw and examined Dane Zimmer andmarked the side and site on his skull where the craniotomy was to be performed. Thereafter Dane Zimmer was taken to surgery to remove the cerebellar mass. .
After awakening from the surgery, Dane Zimmer was unable to effectively communicate with the recovery room nurses because of what was described as “word salad.” A post-operative CT scan was ordered, which showed the surgery had been performed in the wrong location“above the tentorium” and that the mass in the cerebellum was still present. The removed brain tissue was sent to the lab for pathologic analysis. This analysis did not show the presence of tumor in the removed tissue.
Instead of removing the cerebellar mass, Dr. Wrobel had removed brain tissue from Dane Zimmer’s cerebrum, likely in an area of the brain known as Wernicke’s area, which is located around the temporal and parietal lobes on the left side of the brain, important for language development and responsible for the comprehension of speech. When Wernicke’s area is damaged, a language aphasia can result. An aphasia is an impairment of language that affects an individual’s ability to comprehend and produce both spoken and written communication. This type of aphasia is known as Wernicke’s aphasia but is also sometimes referred to as fluenta phasia, sensory aphasia, or receptive aphasia. Dane Zimmer now suffers from permanent aphasia.
With the CT scan showing the tumor was still present in Dane Zimmer’s brain, and the absence of any tumor in the brain tissue that was removed, the decision was made to take Dane Zimmer back to surgery to try to remove the tumor from Dane Zimmer’s cerebellum.
With the assistance of Jason Weinstein, M.D., Dr. Wrobel took Dane Zimmer back to surgery the evening of February 21, 2018. During this second procedure, Dr. Weinstein and Dr.Wrobel extended the prior craniotomy down into the posterior fossa over the correct location of he cerebellar tumor. After opening the skull further, Dr. Weinstein was able to locate the tumor within the cyst in the expected location, and remove it “en masse” without entering the wall of the cyst. Pathology of the second specimen showed it to contain the hemangioblastoma.
Prior to his February 21, 2018, surgery, Dane Zimmer suffered from an anoxic brain injury following a sudden cardiac arrest when he was 19 years old. However, in spite of this condition, and after extensive rehabilitation, Dane Zimmer was able to care for himself, live independently, drive a car, and hold down a job. Since this event, he cannot read or write. He struggles with communication and has difficulty with expression. He suffers from depression and fear of having to explain things that he might be unable to explain. He cannot work. He cannot manage his affairs on his own. He is fully aware of his deficits, which results in depression and isolation from fear of his inability to communicate effectively. Speech pathology professionals have diagnosed Dane Zimmer with moderate to severe Wernicke’s type aphasia.These conditions are permanent.
As a direct result of defendant’s negligence, Dane Zimmer has suffered permanent injury to his brain, which aggravated his pre-existing brain injury and caused additional permanent harm by causing damage to the Wernicke’s area of the brain. As a result of this new injury,Dane Zimmer can no longer manage his own affairs. He cannot work. He has difficulty communicating and he is aware of his deficits. As a result he is depressed and isolated from his fear of miscommunication and embarrassment. He can no longer drive out of fear of being unable to communicate in the event of any type of problem. These conditions are permanent.
The Attorney Representing Mr Zimmer is:
- ROBERT BEATTY-WALTERS, OSB # 954497
- 3838 SE Franklin St.Portland, OR 97202-1737PH:
- (503) 473-8088; FX: (503) 473-8089
- firstname.lastname@example.org Attorney for Plaintiff