The Knucklehead of the Day award
Today's winner is Dr. Joseph Becerra. He gets the award for the following.
A Broward County jury awarded more than $2.4 million to a local elementary school teacher after her gynecologist left a sponge-like material in her body following a Cesarean procedure.Carelessness during surgery and medical negligence during and after. That's all it takes to make Dr. Joseph Becerra today's Knucklehead of the Day.
The plaintiff, Karlene Chambers of Pembroke Pines, sued her doctor, Joseph Becerra, the Pembroke Pines OB/GYN Associates, Memorial Hospital West and other medical agencies for negligence.
The jury awarded the verdict Tuesday after a 12-day trial before Judge Charles Greene.
''Because [the doctor] was negligent, he didn't act on it and she was permitted to lay there, getting sicker and sicker,'' said Chambers' attorney Crane Johnstone.
According to Johnstone, this is what happened:
On Sept. 9, 2001, Chambers checked into Memorial Hospital West, where she expected to give birth. Two days later, on Sept. 11, a few hours after watching the Twin Towers crumble on TV, Chambers had a C-section.
Chambers, then 31, gave birth to a healthy girl, Camille.
The new mother checked out of the hospital Sept. 14, but returned to Becerra with an illness three days later.
He prescribed antibiotics. She didn't get better and developed a fever.
Chambers returned to the hospital Sept. 19 and got an X-ray.
A radiologist spotted a foreign object and reported it, but there was a ''breakdown in communication,'' Johnstone said.
On Sept. 22, the foreign object showed up again, this time in a CAT scan. It was a foot-long sponge left in her pelvis. The material caused an infection in the abdomen and uterus.
An emergency surgery ensued in order to remove the gauze-like sponge -- a ''lap pad'' used to mop up bodily fluids and blood during operations.
According to Johnstone, Chambers, a first-grade teacher at Fairway Elementary in Miramar, lost her ability to have more children because of the botched operation, and suffers from other health problems.
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