When Glenn Hermes learned that he had cancer in one kidney early last year, he agreed to have surgery to remove his left kidney before it had a chance to spread.
He checked into Plaza Medical Center in Fort Worth and his left kidney was removed. Hermes thought it was a crisis averted.
But then Hermes soon learned that a CT scan had been misread and that the wrong kidney was removed — it was his right kidney that was riddled with cancer.
Hermes, 55, chief executive officer for a wound care and hyperbaric medicine management company, was looking forward to retirement and spending time with his grandchildren.
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Now, he deals with an uncertain future wondering if he will face dialysis, a transplant or the possibility of taking expensive drugs.
“There isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t think about this,” Hermes said in an interview Wednesday afternoon.
A portion of Hermes’ right kidney has been removed because of the cancer, and he now has limited kidney function.
“I’m getting to the point where I should be enjoying life and thinking about retirement and not thinking about a transplant,” Hermes said. “It’s pretty emotional.”
Late Tuesday, Hermes and his wife Bernadette filed suit against his urologist, Dr. Robert Stroud, and a radiologist, Dr. David Fenyes, for malpractice and gross negligence.
The suit, filed in Tarrant County civil district court, also lists Lonestar Urology where Stroud is listed as president and Radiology Associates of North Texas were also listed as defendants. Plaza Medical Center was not named in the lawsuit.
Hermes and his wife, who live in Arlington, are seeking over $1 million in damages.
Mark Kleinschmidt, the agent for Radiology Associates, could not be reached for comment.
Stroud and Fenyes did not return calls from the Star-Telegram seeking comment.
Darrell Keith, an attorney representing Hermes, said the lawsuit should send a message to doctors to be more careful.
“I intend to prove that the radiologist botched the CT scan diagnosis of the wrong kidney with cancer, and that the surgeon bungled the surgery by operating on and removing the wrong kidney,” Keith said.
According to court documents, Hermes had an appointment with Stroud because he was having pain near his scrotum and that he also noticed a growth near his right testicle.
A CT scan with and without contrast and ultrasound were done of Hermes’ pelvic and abdomen area, including both kidneys, which is when doctors noticed a mass on his left kidney.
On Jan. 17, 2013, Fenyes sent and discussed the CT scan and ultrasound findings with Stroud, who was Hermes’ urologist at the time.
Five days later, Hermes had an appointment with Stroud and was told that the lump was at “high risk” of being cancerous, and doctors recommended surgery to remove the kidney, the lawsuit states.
The next month, Hermes had the surgery, he and his family were told afterward that the left kidney with a mass was removed and sent to a pathologist for analysis.
But the pathology report indicated the kidney that had been removed was healthy. When Stroud told Hermes that the left kidney had been “erroneously” removed and that his right kidney was cancerous, Hermes said he was “shocked” and could not say a word at first.
Hermes sought another diagnosis from another doctor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center who recommended a partial removal of the right kidney using robotic technology.
The cancerous portion of the kidney was removed in March 2013. There was no cancer found near the scrotum, according to the lawsuit.
Although Hermes said that he is cancer-free, he lives with the uncertainty about what will happen with his future health needs.
He must be cancer-free for five years before he is eligible for a transplant, and even then there are no guarantees that a transplant will be successful.
His wife Bernadette said she is concerned about her husband getting an infection or getting sick.
“I’m trying to be uplifting and positive,” she said. “But I know that at any time his kidney could stop working.”
Glenn Hermes said his lawsuit is not about the money, but out of concern as to how he will protect his wife and family as the main provider, he said.
“When this lawsuit is all over, I will still only have three quarters of a kidney left,” he said.