When I first became an InjuryBoard Member, I wrote a couple of posts about the unfairness of potential Oklahoma tort reform. Later, I, sadly, reported that Governor Henry had signed it into law. Tort reform in Oklahoma or anywhere else is a bad deal for United States citizens. Just a few short months after Governor Henry signed off on the bill, comes this story in Tulsa World. Apparently, a doctor at an Oklahoma medical center mistakenly operated on his patient’s knee; unfortunately, despite marking the correct knee with a black magic marker that said "yes", the surgeon chose the wrong knee, and performed surgery which resulted in two bad knees and a mountain of medical debt.
To compound the error, a staff member then, allegedly, persuaded the man, William Paul Boykin, who was still under anesthetic, to consent to surgery to correct the error and permit surgery on the correct knee. Now, according to his attorney, Paul Boudreaux, Mr. Boykin may need a knee replacement. Hospital spokespeople refused comment citing HIPPA.
Since the man was still groggy from anesthesia when he consented to the second surgery, his attorney claims that he lacked coherency to provide consent or, even "implied consent", as that term is understood in the law. Mr. Boudreux said:
“The knee he was supposed to operate on had big black Magic Marker on it saying ‘yes.’ I don’t know how much clearer you could make it”
Lawsuit Financial doesn’t either. These types of occurences are textbook reasons why tort reform, of any kind, is a bad idea. Gross negligence should be punished; damages should be severe so that the liklihood of reoccurence is curtailed. Caps on damages for the benefit of the rich and powerful insurance industry and to protect doctors serve only to victimize victims, a second time. It will be interesting to see what effect the new law has on the outcome of this case. Lawsuit Financial wishes both plaintiff and attorney good luck in their quest for justice in Oklahoma.
Attorney, certified civil mediator, and award-winning author of the Zachary Blake Betrayal Series. Mark Bello is also a member of the State Bar of Michigan, a sustaining member of the Michigan Association for Justice, and a member of the American Association for Justice.