Lisa-Maria Carter had a very promising future working with the Department of Defense as an intelligence analyst. She underwent an operation at the Tampa General Hospital performed by a surgeon associated with the University of South Florida’s College of Medicine for removal of a benign (non-cancerous) ovarian cyst. Since that day, things have never been remotely the same for Carter as complications caused gangrene that led to amputations of her hands and feet.
Carter faces daily abdominal pain after bacteria damaged her lower bowel. She is also bound to a wheelchair, requires constant care, including assistance with eating and bathing. A jury in Tampa recently awarded her $109 million in damages following the conclusion of a series of medical malpractice cases.
She had been made aware of the presence of the ovarian cyst and was instructed to have the operation. Women have two ovaries that resemble the size and shape of an almond. Ovarian cysts are small sacs of fluid that form on the ovaries. Many women have these cysts and typically they are harmless and dissipate within several months without medical intervention. Carter was to have a minimally-invasive, outpatient procedure performed by Dr. Larry Glazerman.
During the surgery, Glazerman perforated the lining of her small intestine; however, he apparently did not realize it and completed the procedure as normal. Several days later, she returned with pain and Dr. Christopher Hults identified the intestinal wound and sought to correct it. It was discovered that flesh-eating bacteria had damaged portions of her intestines, stomach, and abdomen. Further operations were conducted in efforts to remove the decayed tissue. Blood pressure medicine was used to circulate blood away from the limbs, but this ultimately brought on gangrene in the extremities.
Her initial malpractice suit was brought in 2012. In this case, the judge ruled against her saying the hospital was not liable in the matter, based on the existence of an indemnity agreement. This ruling was based on a waiver form that she had signed prior to the operation that essentially released the hospital from any potential liability. A subsequent trial then resulted in a hung jury. The case was tried again recently, spanning a period of two weeks where she ultimately prevailed.
A statement by the University of South Florida was released expressing sympathy for Carter’s ongoing difficulties; however, they again denied liability in the matter citing a lack of relevant supporting evidence. This statement is likely indicative of an upcoming appeal from the hospital.
In the meanwhile, Carter has received a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder. She has progressed physically to be capable of sitting upright in bed and is learning to use prosthetic legs to walk. She has persevered and recently completed her master’s degree in forensic psychology in an online program. She hopes to counsel military veterans who are also struggling with problems. Her attorney has indicated that he plans to approach the state legislature regarding this case.