A former Central Texas welder who underwent brain surgery for a cyst that caused tremors to his left hand is suing a Waco hospital, a neurosurgeon and a physician’s assistant, alleging he emerged from the surgery with new, permanent injuries.
Larry Thompson Jr., of Mexia, is seeking unspecified damages from Dr. Brian J. O’Grady, Jared Collett, Providence Health Services Waco and BrainLab Inc. The lawsuit was filed Thursday in Waco’s 414th State District Court.
O’Grady said Friday he was unaware of the lawsuit.
“I can’t make a response until I know what I am supposed to be responding to,” he said. “Obviously, I am in disagreement and all of the facts are incorrect. I would have to see the lawsuit to see what they are talking about.”
Collett, a physician’s assistant in O’Grady’s office, did not return a phone message Friday.
Erin Rogers, public information specialist at Providence Healthcare Network, said Providence does not comment on pending litigation.
“Providing the best care possible is of utmost importance to Providence Healthcare Network,” she said in an email.
Meg Cook, who works in BrainLab’s legal office in Chicago, did not return a phone message Friday.
The lawsuit, filed on Thompson’s behalf by Houston attorney Robert W. Painter, said Thompson was 27 when he underwent surgery at Providence in March 2016.
Painter said Thompson experienced mild hand tremors for several years that bothered him but didn’t affect his job as a welder. He went to see O’Grady when the tremors worsened and he developed headaches.
Hospital tests showed Thompson had a “benign essential tremor” caused by a “very large cavum septum pellucidum,” or a space between leaflets of the brain that were filled with fluid. The fluid was causing pressure in Thompson’s brain and O’Grady operated, with Collett assisting, according to the lawsuit.
“Following surgery, Thompson was documented to have new injuries and impairments, including severe internal deviation of the left eye, profound weakness in his left arm and face, severe weakness in both legs, difficulty using his tongue, a speech change and swallowing impairment,” the lawsuit alleges.
“These new injuries and impairments are consistent with a severe injury to Thompson’s left midbrain and posterior pons, right thalamus, and right frontal lobe during the March 28, 2016, surgery,” the suit states. “In addition, he has new significant cranial nerve deficits.”
“We believe the images, as well as Larry’s medical records, show the new symptoms and problems he has,” Painter said in an interview. “The neurosurgeon got lost in Larry’s brain and lost his bearing and was damaging other parts of the brain that he shouldn’t even have been into. When that happens, you are supposed to just pull out and start over and do it another day. But as a result, Larry is going to spend the rest of his life with this permanent, debilitating brain damage.”
The lawsuit alleges O’Grady and Collett were negligent by failing to use the less-invasive options, completed the surgery after becoming “anatomically disoriented” and using a surgical technique that probed too deeply, causing permanent physical trauma and injury to Thompson’s brain stem and thalamus.
Painter said Thompson had a 2-month-old son at the time of his surgery and now can’t perform the functions that a normal father would or interact with his family like he should.
The lawsuit alleges that BrainLab, a German company, was negligent by selling Providence surgical equipment and software that contained “design, manufacturing and/or marketing defects” that were subject to recall in April 2013.
“These defects caused the BrainLab stereotactic surgical equipment and navigation software to be unreasonable dangerous,” the lawsuit alleges.