Wound split open after surgery, patient claims in suit against St. Elizabeth's

Kelly Holleran Apr. 26, 2010, 6:36am

A man has filed suit against St. Elizabeth's Hospital, alleging his wound split open after surgery.

Ralph Burton claims he had abdominal surgery on April 15, 2008, and that St. Elizabeth's Hospital provided his post-surgical care.

At some point after the surgery, in April 2008, Burton suffered a wound dehiscence, or opening of the wound's layers, according to the complaint filed April 15 in St. Clair County Circuit Court.

Because of the wound's opening, Burton suffered severe and permanently disabling and disfiguring injuries, endured constant pain and suffering, incurred substantial medical costs and lost large sums of money from his impaired earning capacity, the suit states.

St. Elizabeth's Hospital negligently failed to adequately monitor Burton's wound post-surgery, failed to maintain adequate pressure on his incision post-surgery, failed to timely notify his physician that his wound was opening and failed to follow medical orders to keep binders on Burton's incision, the complaint says.

Burton also names Dr. Terence Wade as a respondent in discovery, saying Wade provided Burton's post-surgical care. Medical records fail to indicate why Burton's wound opened, and Wade may have some insight on the issue, Burton claims.

In his two-count suit, Burton is seeking a judgment of more than $50,000, plus costs.

Bruce N. Cook of Cook, Ysursa, Bartholomew, Brauer and Shevlin in Belleville will be representing him.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 10-L-180.

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