Inmate says neck surgery damaged vocal cords, sues doctors

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Nov. 10, 2011, 9:40am

GALVESTON - Complaining a medical procedure has left him with "severe permanent injuries," prison inmate Paul Edward Bearden has pursued legal action against Texas Department of Criminal Justice physicians.

Bearden filed suit against Dr. Ronald Wayne Lindsey and Dr. Justin E. Chronister on Oct. 27 in Galveston County District Court.

He alleges the physicians were negligent in their efforts "to reduce or eliminate an unreasonable risk of harm or injury created by the act of surgery on (the plaintiff's) cervical spine."

Bearden, who is currently incarcerated at the Wayne Scott Unit in Angleton, sought treatment from the defendants, who diagnosed him "as having cervical stenosis."

He underwent an operation performed by Lindsey and Chronister on June 14, 2010, and was discharged from the hospital two days later.

According to the original petition, the complainant began to experience pain around the esophagus and a hoarse voice after his release.

He notified prison doctors on several occasions between July and August 2010 about his inability to talk, pain in the throat, complications with eating and drinking, choking on his food and "the feeling of having something hung inside his throat," the suit says.

Bearden says he would have the same problems from August to November 2010, stating he later learned from the University of Texas Medical Branch's Otolaryngology Department that his left vocal cord was paralyzed as a result of an injury from the surgery over the summer.

The suit further explains that Bearden had thyroplasty surgery earlier this year, however, he still had trouble with his voice and throat after the procedure.

Consequently, the plaintiff seeks unspecified monetary damages.

He is representing himself in the case.

Galveston County 122nd District Court Judge John Ellisor is presiding over the litigation.

Case No. 11-cv-1710

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