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Published: Monday, 2/11/2008

Woman seeks at least $5M in malpractice suit

BY JULIE M. McKINNON
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Tricia and William Dold say she has progressed from a wheelchair to a cane since her surgery but still needs painkillers. Tricia and William Dold say she has progressed from a wheelchair to a cane since her surgery but still needs painkillers.
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WAYNE, Ohio - Tricia Dold expected to be at Toledo Hospital overnight for a surgery to fix a degenerated disc in her neck.

But after Dr. Joseph Yazdi, a former Toledo Clinic neurosurgeon, dropped a surgical instrument on the rural Wayne woman's open spinal cord for what he eventually reportedly told relatives was a "nanosecond," Mrs. Dold was hospitalized for a month at Toledo Hospital and three weeks at Flower Hospital.

And, more than a year after surgery, the left side of Mrs. Dold's body remains shaky, the other side is numb, and the mother of two teenagers takes numerous medications for pain, depression, and other conditions.

"He said he does this all day long, it's no big deal, don't worry about it," Mrs. Dold, 37, recalled last week of their meeting before surgery. "When I woke up from anesthesia, I could not move the left side of my body from the neck down."

But Mrs. Dold and her husband, William, not only are suing the neurosurgeon and Toledo Clinic, which assigned her to Dr. Yazdi for the Jan. 16, 2007, surgery after being referred by her doctor. They also are suing Toledo Hospital, which they contend say didn't warn them about accusations that Dr. Yazdi was under stress and had anger management issues - and was fighting the hospital's bid to suspend his clinical privileges and medical staff appointment.

Mrs. Dold's at least $5 million lawsuit in Lucas County Common Pleas Court is slated for trial Oct. 27.

Mrs. Dold says she still has pain and numbness more than a year after surgery, as sketched in the diagram above. Mrs. Dold says she still has pain and numbness more than a year after surgery, as sketched in the diagram above.
JEREMY WADSWORTH Enlarge

Her Perrysburg attorney, Marshall Wisniewski, said he plans to add nursing negligence to the malpractice lawsuit, alleging that Mrs. Dold injured her lower back in a fall after one Toledo Hospital nursing employee, not two as ordered, assisted her with walking.

Dr. Yazdi, who left Toledo Clinic and is practicing at Southern Illinois Brain and Spine Center at St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Belleville, Ill., declined to comment last week.

So did Perrysburg attorney Stephen Skiver, who is representing Dr. Yazdi and Toledo Clinic.

Officials for ProMedica Health System, which owns Toledo Hospital, also declined to comment, a spokesman said.

A month after the malpractice lawsuit was filed in July, Toledo Hospital was added as a defendant after Mr. Wisniewski read a complaint Dr. Yazdi filed last summer in Lucas County Common Pleas Court against the hospital and then dismissed voluntarily.

While trying to get a restraining order against Toledo Hospital so his clinical privileges would not be suspended, Dr. Yazdi made what Mr. Wisniewski called an unusual move.

Dr. Yazdi revealed officials determined he had twice engaged in inappropriate and disruptive verbal conduct toward hospital employees in 2006 and wanted him to undergo counseling, according to documents marked confidential that were publicly filed in court.

Neurosurgeons - more so than family doctors, for example - need full concentration and cooperation to perform such critical surgeries, Mr. Wisniewski said.

"Here is a guy that should have not been in an operating room that day," he said. "This was preventable. That's what's sad about this whole thing."

Mrs. Dold, who is undergoing counseling, has progressed from wheelchair to walker to cane.

She cannot distinguish hot and cold on the right side of her body, she has memory lapses, and she was so anxious and depressed she didn't venture from her bedroom until about three months ago, she said.

The Dolds have been told she has a two-year window for recovery, Mr. Dold said, but Mrs. Dold is unlikely to fully return to her previous condition.

"We're a little over a year now, and we're hopeful," he said.

Contact Julie M. McKinnon at:

jmckinnon@theblade.com

or 419-724-6087.



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