Five shoulder surgeries either unnecessary or made things worse

By Kelly Holleran | Feb 4, 2010

A man has filed suit against a doctor who he says performed unnecessary surgery on his shoulder, causing him to sustain nerve and muscle injury.

A man has filed suit against a doctor who he says performed unnecessary surgery on his shoulder, causing him to sustain nerve and muscle injury.

Jim A. Parker claims he visited defendant Doctor Craig Beyer after being injured when an elevator door slammed shut on his left shoulder causing him considerable pain on May 1, 2004.

Four months before the incident, Parker's right shoulder had been operated on for a rotator cuff problem, and he was also concerned that the elevator incident had caused a renewed injury to it, according to the complaint filed Jan. 27 in St. Clair County Circuit Court.

So, Beyer checked Parker's right shoulder, but found no further damage to it. However, Beyer diagnosed Parker with left shoulder rotator cuff disease on May 11, 2004, and performed surgery to treat the condition on Nov. 2, 2004, the suit states.

After the surgery, Parker's progress was less than average and an April 15, 2005, MRI revealed that he had "some post-operative inflammatory changes."

"The rotator cuff tendon repair does appear to be in tact with moderate residual muscular atrophy," the complaint says.

Beyer recommended Parker undergo additional surgery, which was performed Sept. 2, 2005, at Anderson Hospital, he claims.

Still, Parker did not progress well, so he endured a third surgery on Jan. 6, 2006, which included a resection of the bony tissue within the sub-scapularis, according to the complaint.

Parker continued to have chronic inflammation and pain in his left shoulders despite the numerous surgeries, so he visited Beyer again on April 12, 2006. During the visit, Beyer recommended Parker undergo a fourth surgery, which he described as "open deltoid splitting with detachment and debridement of this focus and removal of suture material and repair utilizing an absorbable suture," the suit states.

Before enduring another surgery, Parker obtained a second opinion from a colleague Beyer recommended who concurred with Beyer's opinion, the complaint says.

So, Parker went through a fourth surgery on July 5, 2006, during which Beyer placed a pain pump in Parker's shoulder, he claims.

Despite the multiple surgeries, Parker still progressed slowly, so Beyer referred him to the Mayo Clinic where a Dr. Colfield told Parker he had no advice to offer, the suit states.

On Jan. 2, 2007, Beyer told Parker there were no new treatment options available to him and thought they could try a new debridement. Because of Beyer's grim prognosis, Parker sought a second opinion from Dr. Ken Yamaguchi of Washington University Orthopedics at Barnes Hospital, the complaint says.

Yamaguchi recommended an additional surgery, which he performed on Oct. 29, 2007. During the surgery, Parker claims a pain pump was placed into his shoulder.

"On November 6, 2007, Dr. Yamaguchi stated to the plaintiff, 'we are concerned that the majority of his pain is coming from his significant acromionectomy that he had previously and if this is the case, there would be very little we can do about that," the suit states. "During a follow-up visit on December 19, 2007, Dr. Yamaguchi stated, 'Unfortunately, he continues to have substantial pain. This is not surprising considering our findings in the OR when his rotator cuff was completely intact and he had evidence of anterior deltoid compromise.'"

On Jan. 30, 2008, Yamaguchi gave Parker no other options to treat his pain, so he returned to Beyer, who disagreed with Yamaguchi's findings, according to the complaint.

"At that time, the plaintiff was not pleased with Dr. Beyer's assessment," the suit states. "That as a direct and proximate result of the foregoing, the defendant was then and there guilty of the following negligent acts and omissions in that he breached the standard of care of physicians practicing in his area and specialty in his treatment and care of the plaintiff herein in the following respects: A. That the numerous surgeries performed upon the plaintiff by the defendant were either unnecessary to treat the plaintiff's condition or done in such a manner that plaintiff's condition was worsened. B. Defendant negligently and carelessly performed surgery upon the plaintiff causing nerve and muscle injury to such a degree that remedial treatment would be of no value."

As a result of Beyer's alleged negligence, Parker suffered severe and permanent injuries that have prevented him from participating in his usual activities, has sustained great pain, has become disabled and lost wages, according to the complaint.

Bernard J. Ysursa of Cook, Ysursa, Bartholomew, Brauer and Shevlin in Belleville will be representing him.

St. Clair County District Court case number: 10-L-35.

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