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Published: Tuesday, 7/24/2007

Jury finds against Notre Dame coach in lawsuit over stomach surgery

ASSOCIATED PRESS

BOSTON A jury found against Notre Dame football coach Charlie Weis today in his malpractice lawsuit against two doctors he claimed botched his care after he had gastric bypass surgery five years ago.

The jury deliberated for less than half a day before finding Massachusetts General Hospital surgeons Charles Ferguson and Richard Hodin were not negligent.

Weis, 51, who won Super Bowls as the offensive coordinator for the New England Patriots, accused the surgeons of negligence, saying they allowed him to bleed internally for 30 hours before performing a second surgery to correct the complication.

Weis nearly died after the surgery. He testified that he still has numbness and pain in his feet and sometimes has to use a motorized cart.

The doctors declined comment as they left the courtroom, referring questions to their attorney, William Dailey Jr.

They and all of the staff down at the Mass. General wished Coach Weis well, Dailey said.

Ferguson, director of Massachusetts General s surgical residency program, and Hodin, a surgeon and professor at Harvard Medical School, said internal bleeding was a well-known complication of the stomach stapling surgery. They said they believed the bleeding would stop on its own and were concerned about performing a second surgery because of the risk of a pulmonary embolism.

Ferguson testified that Weis ignored his advice and pushed to have the operation done quickly rather than going through a recommended six-week preoperative program.

Lawyers for the doctors told the jury that Weis, who weighed about 350 pounds before the surgery, lost about 100 pounds over the next year and landed one of the premier coaching jobs in the country at Notre Dame, his alma mater.

The first trial ended in a mistrial in February after Ferguson and Hodin rushed to the aid of a juror who collapsed in the courtroom.

Read more in later editions of The Blade and toledoblade.com



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