WINFIELD – A Hurricane couple has filed suit against University Physicians and Surgeons and one of its doctors, alleging misplaced wires were stabbing the woman after a surgery.
Danielle and Jason Fields allege Rebecca Wolfer, a physician with University Physicians and Surgeons, failed to properly place sternal wires and to position them in a way so that they would not constantly stab Danielle after the median stemotomy with excision of thymus gland including mass she performed on Danielle on April 26, 2006.
Immediately following her surgery, Fields experienced pain in her chest, which continued over several months, according to the complaint filed Nov. 25 in Putnam Circuit Court.
"The pain was often severe and debilitating and significantly interfered with Ms. Field's activities of daily living, including taking care of her two daughter, a newborn and a toddler," the suit states.
Although Danielle claims she made numerous complaint about her pain to Wolfer, the doctor would do nothing to try to discover the cause of pain, instead saying it was typical post-surgical pain.
"In fact, in response to one of plaintiff's complaints of pain, Dr. Wolfer yelled at plaintiff and accused her of using her pain to obtain medication," the suit states.
The wires were not discovered until September 2006 after Danielle sought a second opinion from Dr. Matthew Harris, who sent her for radiographic testing, according to the complaint.
"The CT scans performed in September, 2006, demonstrated that two of the sternal wires placed by Dr. Wolfer during the April 26, 2006, surgery projected straight up at least 1.5 cm into Ms. Fields' subcutaneous tissue," the suit states. "The misplacement of the wires was noted to be causing a foreign body reaction and sinus tracts in Ms. Fields."
Danielle was advised to return to Wolfer for treatment, she claims.
However, because of her past experience with Wolfer, Danielle instead sought treatment from Dr. John Howington at the University of Cincinnati.
Following Howington's Oct. 18, 2006, corrective surgery in which he removed four of the misplaced sternal wires, Danielle began to feel less pain, according to the complaint.
Because of Wolfer's mistakes, Danielle suffered from unnecessary scarring, pustules and infection and had to endure intense and "often debilitating pain" for several months, the suit states.
Danielle claims she participated in therapy and treatment that would not have been necessary if the problem was discovered earlier, had a corrective surgery that would not have been necessary if the wires were correctly placed and suffered weakness and physical impairment.
"As to her children, she was unable to pick them up, hold them or show affection to them, including her daughter who was born only weeks before the April 26, 2006, surgery," the suit states.
Because of their numerous medical bills, the Fields claim they have been turned over to credit agencies and Danielle was unable to work.
"Plaintiffs were forced to borrow money from family and to take money out of their retirement account just to make ends meet," the suit states.
Jason suffered a loss of consortium and loss of services, according to the complaint.
Wolfer and University Physicians and Surgeons breached their standard of care by failing to be attentive to and to ignore Danielle's complaints of pain, according to the complaint.
The Fields are seeking a judgment for unspecified damages, plus attorney's fees and other relief the court deems just.
They are represented by Richard E. Holtzaprel of Holtzaprel Law Offices in Hurricane.
Putnam Circuit Court case number: 08-C-1002