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North Texas doctor misplaced 4 screws in woman’s spine and lied about it, lawsuit says

An x-ray shows where two screws should have been placed in a woman’s spine during surgery and where the screws were improperly inserted instead, according to a lawsuit.
An x-ray shows where two screws should have been placed in a woman’s spine during surgery and where the screws were improperly inserted instead, according to a lawsuit. Exhibit in Lesa Swanson's lawsuit

A Hurst woman says her doctor misplaced four screws in her spine during a surgery at a Tarrant County hospital and then lied about it.

Lesa Swanson is suing Dr. Anil Kumar Kesani, saying he caused permanent damage to her spine during surgery at Baylor Medical Center in Trophy Club, according to a suit filed in Tarrant County on April 23.

Kesani could not be reached for comment on the lawsuit after multiple calls and messages. He does not have a record of disciplinary actions at his previous practice in Illinois or in Texas and is employed at the Institute of Spinal Disorders in Hurst.

Swanson says she went to Kesani for spinal surgery on April 27, 2017. During the surgery, Kesani misplaced four of six screws in Swanson’s back, the suit says.

Three of the screws went directly into Swanson’s spinal nerves, according to the suit. After the surgery, x-ray images of Swanson’s spine showed the screws were severely and obviously incorrectly positioned.

“This represents the worst screw placement I have ever seen in a lumbar spine,” Dr. J. Bob Blacklock, a neurosurgeon at the Texas Medical Center in Houston, said in an expert opinion of the case. Blacklock’s report was included in case documents.

However, Kesani reported in his post-surgical report that the screws were in the correct position.

“These grossly improper placements were clearly demonstrated on a final fluoroscopic image taken in the operating room, yet nothing was done to remediate this terrible situation,” Blacklock says in the report. “... Dr. Kesani either did not understand this imaging, understood it and ignored it, or did not see it.”

After the surgery, Swanson woke up with severe pain, numbness and weakness, the suit says. The day after the first surgery, Kesani ordered a CT scan of Swanson’s spine, which again showed the misplaced screws.

Kesani did not tell Swanson the screws were misplaced, but said she needed another surgery, according to the suit. On April 28, Kesani removed two of the screws in Swanson’s spine. Doing so caused a cavity to form near Swanson’s spine and sent scattered bone through the right side of the spinal canal, according to the suit.

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Dr. Bob Blacklock Exhibit in Lesa Swanson's lawsuit

After the surgery, another CT scan showed the bone debris in Swanson’s back, but Kesani ignored it, the suit says. He did not explain what happened during the first surgery and documented Swanson had normal strength and sensation “when that was clearly not the case,” the lawsuit says.

As her pain continued post-surgery, Swanson says in the suit, Kesani “seemed uninterested in hearing her symptoms.”

“I truly cannot imagine what the doctor’s explanation will be for why he placed three screws directly into the nerves in Ms. Swanson’s spinal canal and then failed to accurately communicate to his patient what he had done,” Swanson’s lawyer, Todd Smith, said.

Swanson had another surgery in July 2017 with another doctor to help with her severe lower back pain. Even with the surgery, she still cannot feel her right foot, her right calf or part of her right thigh at all, and she cannot stand on her right foot alone without falling, the suit says.

She is seeking damages over $1 million.

Four other suits have been filed against Kesani alleging malpractice, all regarding medical care at his previous practice at Southland Orthopedics near Chicago. One lawsuit was dismissed and the other three are ongoing.

The following are allegations from the four other lawsuits against Kesani:

In 2017, a man filed suit against Kesani over his cervical spine surgery, saying the operation in 2012 caused serious infection and spinal cord dysfunction.

A woman’s family filed a wrongful death suit against Kesani in 2016, saying Kesani performed spinal surgery on Debra Geraci in 2013 but did not monitor Geraci’s neurological status during the operation. Geraci woke up and could not move her legs and went into cardiac arrest. Eight months later, she died from complications of spinal paralysis, her family says in the suit.

Another woman said in a 2015 suit that Kesani placed a spinal cord stimulator in her back in 2013. Despite her reports of severe pain after the operation, she said Kesani did not remove the implant for 24 hours, causing permanent damage. The case was dismissed.

One man says Kesani performed unnecessary surgery on a part of his spine that did not require an operation in 2015. The surgery caused a tear in the thin covering over the man’s spinal cord, causing debilitating pain and injuries to the man post-operation, according to the 2016 suit.

In depositions for each case, Kesani denied all allegations of medical negligence or malpractice.

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