Surgical staples caused pain, med mal complaint alleges

By Andrea Dearden | Sep 4, 2012


A St. Clair County woman says the staples used in her stomach surgery caused her a great deal of pain and is suing her Belleville doctors for allegedly failing to figure out why.

Nicole Thomas filed a lawsuit Aug. 16 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against Dr. Bernard Szopa, Dr. Mark Feldman and Lincoln Surgical Associates Ltd.

Thomas says she had surgery in May 2008 to repair an abdominal hernia. She says the procedure was performed by Dr. Szopa who allegedly used Marlex mesh to close the hernia. Thomas claims the mesh was an onlay variety but Dr. Szopa chose to staple it in place. Thomas says the doctor never told her staples were going to be in the surgery.

Shortly after the procedure, Thomas says she began to feel severe pain in her stomach and for the next several years complained of extreme discomfort to Dr. Szopa. She claims he was unable to diagnose the source of the pain. Seeking a second opinion, Thomas says she went to see Dr. Feldman, who was also unable to properly diagnose the problem.

Thomas says in July 2011 she went to see Dr. Michael Brunt of Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis. He was able to pinpoint the pain as being caused by the staples, according to the complaint, and removed them in August 2011. Thomas says her pain began to improve immediately.

Thomas accuses the defendants and their employer, Lincoln Surgical Associates, of medical malpractice and seeks more than $50,000 in damages for medical expenses and court costs.

She is represented by attorney Michael Gras of Belleville. They ask for a jury trial.

St. Clair County Circuit Court Case No. 12-L-428

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