St. Elizabeth's, cardiologist named in med mal complaint

Kelly Holleran Mar. 24, 2011, 2:38am

A Belleville man has filed suit against St. Elizabeth's Hospital and one of its doctors, alleging he has to remain on a pacemaker for the remainder of his life because of the doctor's alleged negligence.

David Buckingham claims he was treated by defendant Dr. Roop Lal on March 12, 2010. During Buckingham's visit, Lal allegedly performed an unnecessary electrophysiological ablation, which is a procedure performed to correct heart arrhythmias by burning cells, according to the complaint filed March 11 in St. Clair County Circuit Court.

The procedure, however, caused Buckingham to sustain serious injuries to his heart and has rendered him dependent on a defibrillator for the rest of his life, the suit states. Buckingham also suffered great pain and anguish and missed numerous working days because of the procedure, the complaint says.

Buckingham blames Lal for causing his injuries, saying Lal negligently burned tissue near the heart, causing a heart block, and failed to perform any tests to prove that Buckingham had suffered serious damage after the procedure.

In addition to Lal, Buckingham names St. Elizabeth's Hospital and Cardiology Associates as defendants, saying they negligently discharged him from the hospital before determining the extent of damage to his heart.

In his three-count complaint, Buckingham seeks a judgment of more than $150,000, plus costs.

Mark S. Peebles of Belleville will be representing him.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 11-L-135.

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