Lisa Maria Carter once spent her days working as an intelligence analyst for the Department of Defense. She led a fulfilling life until a routine surgery went horribly wrong. Now Carter is living in a nursery home, receiving round the clock care. She has to be spoon fed at every meal and is on a long list of medications. Her life has drastically changed and she is seeking justice with a medical malpractice lawsuit against the doctor who is responsible for her sudden injuries.
Carter first visited Dr. Larry Glazermen in November of 2010. She was facing an upcoming deployment to Iraq and needed to have an ovarian cyst removed before she left the country. When she went in for the operation, she never expected that she would lose her hands and feet. According to her lawsuit, Dr. Glazerman made a mistake during the surgery, slicing through her small bowel. Even worse, he did not realize what had happened and it caused a severe infection. In order to save her life, doctors had to amputate her lower legs, feet, and hands.
During a court appearance in February, Glazerman died any wrong doing. “I could not imagine how that scenario could have possibly happened,” he said. The doctor believes that the small bowel could have been injured in some way and then ruptured. However, he believes if he had accidentally sliced the bowel, it would have been evident in the follow-up surgeries from other doctors. “If that had really happened, when Dr. Holtz went back and removed this piece of bowel, there would be two holes in it; a hole here and a hole there, and there weren’t. There was one hole,” he told the court.
Carter’s attorneys are working to prove Glazerman’s analysis wrong and they are pursuing millions of dollars in damages to cover the massive medical expenses that Carter has already accrued and will need for future care.
Jurors in the case have found themselves in a crash course in surgery and biology, learning the navigate facts about the intestinal track to try to discern who was really at fault in the situation. Christopher Ligori, a personal injury attorney in Tampa, said that the case is really shocking. “No one would ever expect to go in for a routine procedure like this and wind up losing their hands and feet. This has to be a devastating time for Mrs. Carter and her family and she certainly deserves to seek justice from the doctor who caused her injuries.”
Carter is doing her best to cope with the unexpected tragedy. At only 46-years-old, she is living in a nursing home full-time and unable to work or even provide the simplest level of self-care. Her attorneys told the press that she will need “highly skilled medical personnel 24 hours a day, seven days a week for the rest of her life.”
Prior to this incident, Glazerman had no complaints against him according to the Board of Medicine. He specialized in gynecologic surgery through minimally invasive procedures and served as director of the gynecology surgery program at the University of South Florida.
For Pamela Ferrara, her Shih Tzu Camilla was more than a pet. The 9-year-old dog was loved like a child. Ferrara and her husband do not have other children and they are still grieving the loss of their pup. Now they have filed a lawsuit against Tampa Bay Veterinary for medical malpractice.
Malpractice lawsuits against veterinarians are becoming more and more common in recent years, but they are incredibly difficult for attorneys to prove. Joyce Tischler form the Animal Legal Defense Fund said that it’s very rare for pet owners to recover much in the way of monetary damages in these cases. However, the Ferrera couple are not giving up in their fight to see justice on behalf of their dog.
In media reports, Pamela recalls how much of the couple’s lives revolved around Carmella. She said the dog had a favorite television show and song. They even let the dog eat dinner with them, getting her own hamburger. One of Carmella’s favorite things was getting a “Beggin Strips” treat. She would give the dog one of these treats anytime she left the house. But one day she came home and saw that the treat had not been eaten and Carmella was lethargic.
Pamela took her to the primary care veterinarian where they learned that Carmella had immune mediated hemolytic anemia. Her conditioned worsened and the Ferraras took her to Tampa Bay Veterinary. There, the doctor told them Carmella was in bad shape with only a 40 percent chance to survive. “She ended up having three blood transfusions that week,” Pamela said. “If she started to decline again, Chris and I decided, we were going to take her home and let her pass away at home.”
The dog seemed to bounce back, but the couple remained cautious to monitor her health. They wound up with around $7,000 in veterinary bills, but still didn’t blink when Carmella relapsed three years later. The dog was coughing up blood when they took her back to Tampa Bay Veterinary. This time, the doctor wanted to simply send the dog home. Pamela said they asked for the company president to see their pet, but they were refused. They rushed her back to the primary care veterinarian, but her condition had deteriorated by then. It was too late and Carmella died.
Now the Ferraras have filed a lawsuit against Tampa Bay Veterinary for negligence, loss of income, and severe emotional distress. “It kills me the most, the way she was treated. If she was treated better and they gave her that fighting chance, I would have accepted it,” Pamela said. The couple is seeking an estimated $50,000 in damages from the lawsuit. Pamela said that she was out of work for six months due to her distress over Carmella’s death.
Tampa wrongful death attorney Christopher Ligori said these types of lawsuits are a growing trend in Florida. “We are seeing more and more pet owners who are willing to take the risk to pursue negligence lawsuits against veterinarians.”