Patient claims surgery increased back pain

David Yates Jun. 4, 2007, 5:00pm

Johannes Quelle has brought a medical malpractice lawsuit against Dr. Robert Phelps, claiming the physician failed to perform the "normal procedure" on him.

Quelle filed his original petition with the Jefferson County District Court on May 31. Judge Bob Wortham, 58th Judicial District, will preside over the case.

According to the plaintiff's petition, Quelle had a history of back problems and back surgeries. He was complaining of pain following one back surgery and on June 9, 2005 another surgery was performed.

"Dr. Phelps violated the duty of care ... and was negligent during the course of the treatment given to plaintiff on June 9, 2005," the suit said.

The suit faults Dr. Phelps with the following acts of negligence:

* The standard of care for Defendant would require that he be knowledgeable on intrathecal narcotic pumps and possible complications related to the pump and how to treat them. Defendant was not knowledgeable in this area of medicine.

* The defendant performed surgery upon the plaintiff wherein he severed and removed a portion of the intrathecal narcotic catheter, which was not the normal standard procedure when treating a small seroma.

* The seroma was not life threatening and the defendant should not have operated on the Plaintiff for there was no medical emergency reason to do so.

* Given the history of the plaintiff, the defendant, upon examination and finding a small seroma on plaintiffs back, should have referred the patient back to the original physician.

As a direct and proximate cause of the defendant's negligence, plaintiff was caused to endure pain and suffering and further surgical procedures," the suit said.

"Consequently, the plaintiff has never gotten the same pain relief as before and continually suffers from low back pain and leg pain. Prior to the Defendant removing the intrathecal catheter or a portion thereof, plaintiff had pain relief approaching 80 percent," the suit added.

Quelle is suing for past and future medical expenses, mental anguish and physical pain.

"Plaintiff alleges that the above-captioned incident injured his body as indicated above," the suit said. "In the event the evidence shows that there was any pre-existing problems with any of these parts of his body, then plaintiff alleges that the incident aggravated and/or exacerbated any such pre-existing condition or problems."

Quelle is represented by Gerald Eddins of the Eddins & Bennett Law Firm. He is demanding a trial by jury.

Case No. A179-412

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