Couple Awarded $11.4 Million for Botched Spinal Cord Surgery

Couple Awarded $11.4 Million for Botched Spinal Cord Surgery

A South Florida jury awarded a couple $11.4 million after a failed surgery left Sam Sangounchitte permanently injured and emotionally distressed.

The medical malpractice lawsuit named JFK Medical Center as a defendant. The suit claims the hospital acted negligently by allowing Dr. Jacques Farkas to perform an “antiquated procedure” on Sangounchitte.

The surgery involved planting metal rods into the patient’s neck to stabilize the spine. However, Farkas was not properly trained or experienced to perform such a surgery.

According to the lawsuit, the rods inserted into Sangounchitte’s neck moved up into his brain causing severe injury. Sangounchitte is permanently disabled, wheelchair bound, and depressed.

Plaintiff attorney Nancy La Vista said that Farkas “admitted he wasn’t trained to do this surgery in his residency program,” adding that the neurosurgeon had claimed he had performed hundreds of spinal cord surgeries when, in fact, he had maybe done about 42.

Sangounchitte underwent several subsequent surgeries in an effort to repair the damage, but the injuries are permanent and he suffers severe chronic pain.

“He’s on a lot of medications for depression, pain and spasms,” La Vista said. “He is severely, profoundly impaired.”

The $11.4 million award will help the Sangounchittes overcome the financial burden caused by the botched surgery.

“Our life will change, but to be honest, if I had the choice I’d rather have my husband and my old life,”
Matilda Sangounchitte said. “No money in the world could bring that back for us.”

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