Airman Loses Legs in Botched Gallbladder Surgery, Future of Career Uncertain
Monday, July 20, 2009
A Texas Airman stationed at an Air Force Base near Sacramento, Calif. has lost both legs after surgeons reportedly botched a routine surgery to remove his gallbladder.
Colton Read, 20, underwent laproscopic surgery last week at David Grant Medical Center at Travis Air Force Base near Sacramento. Laproscopic surgery is a minimally invasive procedure that involves making a tiny incision to minimize pain and speed recovery time.
About an hour into the surgery, something went wrong. Read's wife Jessica told CBS11TV.com.
"A nurse runs out, 'we need blood now' and she rounds the corner and my gut feelings is 'oh my God, is that my husband?'" Jessica Read said. Read's wife said an Air Force general surgeon mistakenly cut her husband's aortic valve, which supplies blood to the heart, but waited hours to transport Colton Read to a state hospital with a vascular surgeon.
Read, who is still in intensive care, lost both legs as a result of the blood loss. Meanwhile, his gallbladder still has not been removed. Jessica Read said the doctor admitted his mistake, but under federal law the Reads cannot sue.
The future of Colton Read's career is now uncertain, FOX 40 in Sacramento reported.
Jessica Read told FOX 40 she is appalled that the Air Force is even considering medical retirement or medical discharge while Airman Read is incapable of making any type of decision. She said he is not 100 percent lucid and is still heavily medicated.
The Air Force is conducting a review of the case using outside experts.