When former New England Patriots offensive coordinator Charlie Weis drifted in and out of consciousness after undergoing gastric bypass surgery five years ago, he recalled seeing a priest standing over his bedside, Weis testified in Suffolk Superior Court yesterday.
"I said, 'Don't you dare,' " Weis told jurors. "He told me he was giving a prayer for the sick, not a prayer for the dead."
Weis's second medical malpractice lawsuit proceeded yesterday much like his first trial: Weis detailed for jurors the grueling experience of temporarily losing the use of his legs; the transformation of his home office into a handicap-accessible bedroom, where he relied on his wife, Maura, to help him use the bathroom; and the gut-wrenching realization that he might have had to give up his career as a football coach and his life as an active husband who enjoyed taking walks with his wife and playing with his two children.
Weis testified that he relied on his family and the support of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady -- who is like a son to him, he said -- to get through the worst time of his life.
"I needed to get better for Maura and the kids," he said. "Tommy was forcing the issue."
In his lawsuit, Weis contends that Massachusetts General Hospital surgeons Charles Ferguson and Richard Hodin acted negligently by allowing him to bleed internally for 30 hours after the procedure June 14, 2002.
The first trial ended in a mistrial in February after the doctors being sued rushed to help a juror who had collapsed in the courtroom. Ferguson, director of Mass. General's surgical residency program, and Hodin, a surgeon and professor at Harvard Medical School, have insisted that they gave Weis excellent care after his surgery in June 2002.
But to this day, Weis said, he waddles , he has limited use of his feet, and his hips ache.
"I don't get around fast, but I get around," said Weis, now head football coach at the University of Notre Dame. "I try to stay off my feet as much as I possibly can."
A deposition from Brady describing Weis's ordeal was read aloud in court yesterday.
Weis is expected to testify again tomorrow.