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Docs used permanent, not temporary stitches; lawsuits result


The first in what have come to be known as the “wrong stitches” cases has been settled, a story in The Ledger reports.

The former plaintiff in the now-settled suit is Carrie Monk, a Lakeland, Fla., resident who underwent total laparoscopic hysterectomy at Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center several years ago. (The medical center is managed by Lakeland Regional Health Systems.) During that procedure, Ms. Monk claimed, her doctors used permanent rather than absorbable sutures to close her incisions. As a result, over the next 19 months, she experienced abdominal pain and constant bleeding, which in turn affected her personal life as well as her work as a nurse in the intensive care unit. She underwent follow-up surgery to have the permanent sutures removed, but two could not be identified and excised.

In July 2020, Ms. Monk filed a medical malpractice claim against Lakeland Regional Health, its medical center, and the ob-gyns who had performed her surgery. She was among the first of the women who had received the permanent sutures to do so.

On February 28, 2021, The Ledger ran a story on Ms. Monk’s suit. Less than 2 weeks later, Lakeland Regional Health sent letters to patients who had undergone “wrong stitch” surgeries, cautioning of possible postsurgical complications. The company reportedly kept secret how many letters it had sent out.

Since then, at least nine similar suits have been filed against Lakeland Regional Health, bringing the total number of such suits to 12. Four of these suits have been settled, including Ms. Monk’s. Of the remaining eight cases, several are in various pretrial stages.

Under the terms of her settlement, neither Ms. Monk nor her attorney may disclose what financial compensation or other awards she’s received. The attorney, however, referred to the settlement as “amicable.”

The content contained in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Reliance on any information provided in this article is solely at your own risk.

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