Woman claims doctor's own terminal illness led to surgical error

Kelly Holleran Apr. 9, 2012, 7:37am

A Hardin County woman claims she was forced to endure multiple surgeries after a cancer-stricken doctor failed to install the correct device into her spine.

Rose Hickman filed a lawsuit March 27 in Jefferson County District Court against Medical Opinions and the estate of Dr. Carl Shrontz.

Hickman claims a weak and extremely ill Dr. Shrontz failed to place the correct sized plate and screws into her spine during an operation on Jan. 12, 2010. She alleges Dr. Shrontz should never have operated on Hickman because of his fragile state, according to the complaint.

"Dr. Shrontz was so weak at the time of this surgery from the cancer and the cancer treatments he had been receiving that immediately following the procedure, he had a nurse go out and get Mrs. Hickman's family that were in the waiting room and have them brought back to his desk where he was sitting, thoroughly weakened and exhausted," the suit states.

One week following the surgery, Dr. Shrontz died, the complaint says.

After the surgery, Hickman discovered the wrong size plate and screws had been placed in her spine, and she was required to undergo another procedure to correct Dr. Shrontz's mistake, according to the complaint.

Because of the incident, Hickman claims she endured physical pain and mental anguish, incurred medical costs and experienced physical incapacity and disability.

In her complaint, Hickman is seeking an unspecified judgment, plus pre- and post-judgment interest, costs and other relief the court deems just.

Craig Lewis and John J. Brothers of The Lewis Law Firm in Houston will be representing her.

Judge Bob Wortham, 58th District Court, has been assigned to the case.

Case No. A192-229

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