Elderly Woman Sues Doctor
A Gunter woman filed a lawsuit Tuesday against a Sherman doctor.
She claims her mother will suffer for the rest of her life from surgery that went wrong two years ago.
"It's very sad, very sad," daughter Terri Tolbert said. "She was very independent. She would be going off and shopping and now she can't even leave her home. She can't drive. She is totally dependent on everyone else."
Tolbert and her sister, Mary Wynn now spend much of their time at their mother's bedside.
But they say it didn't have to be that way.
"I try not to think about it," Wynn said.
The lawsuit filed on behalf of Nelda Gravley, 77, claims she became the victim of gross negligence when she went to Texas Health Presbyterian - WNJ in Sherman in October 2012.
She had part of a hernia removed but the suit says Dr. Christopher Lucchese perforated her esophagus during surgery.
"One of the cardinal principles in this kind of surgery that you have to check before you close to see if you've put any holes anywhere you're not supposed to. He didn't do that properly," Dallas attorney Les Weisbrod said.
Gravley's daughters say their mother had trouble breathing after surgery.
The lawsuit says it took at least two days for doctors to identify what was wrong. Weisbrod says she suffered brain damage as a result.
Gravley was flown to a Dallas hospital where Wynn says she remained for months.
Nearly two years later, the great-grandmother known for her cooking now uses a feeding tube.
Weisbrod say she's racked up more than $1 million in medical bills.
"She doesn't understand a lot. She has no short term memory at all. She will continue to ask you things over and over again," Tolbert said.
The lawsuit names Dr. Lucchese and Texas Health Physicians Group as defendants. THPG is the parent company of Texas Health Presbyterian - WNJ.
In an email Tuesday night, Donnie Wyar, a spokesperson for THPG said, "Texas Health Physicians Group is aware of the lawsuit and, as always, is unable to comment on pending litigation.”
A representative for Texas Health Presbyterian - WNJ said, “Due to patient confidentiality, Texas Health-WNJ is unable to provide any patient information or comment on any allegations."
For the sisters, seeing their mother before the surgery is a reminder of how life has changed since then.
"We want her to be taken care of, always," Tolbert said.
According to the Texas Medical Board, Dr. Lucchese has had no disciplinary actions or medical malpractice investigations since his license was issued in January 2012.
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Source: KTEN "Gunter family files lawsuit against Sherman doctor". Meredith Yeomans, October 07, 2014