The removal of an abdominal, non-cancerous mass which resulted in the loss of a kidney temporarily changed the life of an Illinois woman. While a surgeon removed the mass from 59-year-old Toni Pratt, he inadvertently cut away a 6-centimeter-long portion of one of his patient’s ureters, tubes that drain urine from the kidneys to the bladder, reported the Springfield Journal-Register. Pratt experienced pain after the surgery and complained to her doctor, Michael Fenner, who increased her post-operative pain medication.
Beset with an abdominal infection, Pratt contacted another surgeon, who advised removal of her right kidney as opposed to the re-creation of her damaged ureter. To this day, Pratt suffers pain due to nerve damage from the first surgery.
Financial Distress Led to Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
As a result, Pratt sued Fenner’s medical practice, Springfield Clinic, for the botched 2002 surgical procedure. After hearing court testimony for five days, a Sangamon County jury awarded Pratt $59,200 for medical bills, $154,000 for past and future lost earnings and $335,000 for non-economic damages. The latter portion included $150,000 for pain and suffering. The total settlement was $540,000.
Pratt hesitated in filing suit, but said, “I lost my home and my way of supporting myself.” She was a child day-care worker. “At least now I can get a house.”
Fenner has left the Illinois clinic and now practices in Alaska. The doctor’s lawyer said his client may appeal the jury’s verdict.
Unable to work, Pratt missed mortgage payments, prompting a bank to foreclose on her home. Her husband has since died. Today, Pratt rents from a man she divorced prior to marrying her late husband. Pratt receives Social Security disability payments in addition to financial assistance from her adult children.