Thursday, 4:30 PM
Lawyer: Weis bled for 30 hours after gastric bypass
(George Rizer/Globe Staff)
Former Patriots offensive coordinator Charlie Weis and wife, Maura, arrived today for opening arguments in his malpractice suit.
By Scott Allen, Globe Staff
Doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital allowed Charlie Weis, the former offensive coordinator for the New England Patriots, to bleed internally for 30 hours after botched gastric bypass surgery in 2002, his lawyer said today during opening statements of a malpractice trial.
Attorney Michael E. Mone outlined his case today in Suffolk Superior Court in which he alleges that Weis' doctors -- Charles M. Ferguson and Richard A. Hodin -- left him so close to death that a Catholic priest was called in to administer the last rites. Weis still feels pain from the botched surgery, Mone alleged, describing nerve damage in his right foot that still hurts when he stands on the sidelines to coach at the University of Notre Dame.
"Mr. Weis was harmed by the negligence of Dr. Ferguson and Dr. Hodin," Mone told the jury. "He suffered injuries ... that he still suffers today and will suffer for the rest of his life."
Defense attorney William J. Dailey, Jr. said doctors did everything they could for Weis, asserting that nothing they did amounted to negligence or was below the standard of care.
Weis and his wife, Maura, sat expressionless today in the front row of the courtroom at the start of a trial that is expected to last several weeks and may include Patriots quarterback Tom Brady as a witness.
Weis underwent gastric bypass surgery on June 14, 2002, after years of trying unsuccessfully to get in shape. He weighed 350 pounds at the time of the operation, which seemed to have gone well when Ferguson left the hospital at 6 p.m. that night, Mone said.
By 2 a.m. the next day, however, Weis had taken a turn.
"He had a post operative hemorrhage," Mone said. "He had difficulty breathing. His blood values changed dramatically."
From 2 a.m. that Saturday, Weis "was essentially allowed to bleed and he was allowed to bleed until Sunday afternoon," said Mone, adding that Ferguson knew that he was suffering complications.
Dailey, the defense attorney, said that the two surgeons had explained to Weis that hemorrhaging was a known risk from a gastric bypass, a procedure in which 5 to 10 percent of patients suffer major complications after surgery.
Ferguson had urged Weis to delay the procedure until after the 2002 season, Dailey said. Weis, wanting to get it done before Patriots summer camp in 2002, pushed to go on the operating table that June, Dailey said.
While Dailey acknowledged that Weis suffered serious complications, the lawyer said both the surgeons and the doctors in the intensive care unit properly managed his bleeding and recovery. Doctors did not perform another surgery to stop the internal bleeding because they were worried about the risk of a blood clot in his lungs known as a pulmonary embolism. Such a clot could have made another surgery fatal, Dailey said.