JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A surgeon in Jacksonville reportedly caused “hundreds of devastating injuries” while his hospital ignored complaints from patients after he started displaying signs of an alleged neurological disorder, reports Elizabeth Chuck for NBC.
NBC reports that 350 lawsuits have been filed, with at least 100 more expected by the end of the year, against Dr. Richard David Heekin.
The lawsuits also reportedly name Heekin's clinic and Ascension St. Vincent’s Riverside Hospital in Jacksonville, Florida, as defendants.
Between 2016 and 2020, patients in the lawsuits reportedly say that Heekin slurred his words, had difficulty with balance, was unable to concentrate, had erratic behavior and impaired judgment, NBC reports.
Additionally, among his alleged errors made during surgeries were bone fractures, ruptured tendons and severed nerves, reports NBC. One complication cost a patient her life.
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NBC reports that Heekin had progressive supranuclear palsy, which the Mayo Clinic describes as an uncommon brain disorder that causes serious problems with walking, balance and eye movements.
There were no details about when or if hospital officials had become aware that Heekin might have the condition, however, several physicians and nurses voiced concern about Heekin’s ability to practice, NBC reports.
In newly obtained court filings, St. Vincent’s denied the allegations and said if any negligence occurred, it was beyond their control and the sole responsibility of Dr. Heekin and his clinic.
The hospital also challenged whether the statute of limitations has expired in some cases and labeled some allegations as "immaterial, scandalous and irrelevant."