FORT MYERS, Fla. — Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said the team is investigating the circumstances that led to Bobby Jenks requiring emergency back surgery in December.
Jenks said this morning that “there was an error” when he first had surgery to remove bone spurs from his spine on Dec. 12. That surgery was performed at Massachusetts General Hospital by Dr. Kirkham Wood. He is the chief of MGH’s orthopaedic spine service.
According to Jenks, two bone spurs were removed, but only part of a third.
“The third one was started and not finished. So basically there was a serrated edge that sliced me open in two different spots and I was leaking spinal fluid,” he said.
Cherington’s gave this version of the events:
“I don’t have enough expertise in that area to comment specifically on exactly what happened. But apparently there was some soft tissue that was irritated after the first procedure, some piece of bone that was rubbing against the soft tissue around the spine and causing irritation and ultimately fluid build-up,” he said. “That made it very uncomfortable and required the second procedure to happen.”
The buildup of fluid and an infection caused Jenks headaches and what he described as debilitating pain. He had a second surgery in Phoenix on Dec. 30 performed by Dr. Christopher Yeung. His symptoms have since abated.
“There was something in there that wasn’t taking the way it was planned. They needed to go back in and clean it up again,” Cherington said.
The Red Sox are now looking into the matter.
“As soon as his symptoms returned and he had to go back into the hospital in Phoenix, we obviously looked back to find out as much as we could,” Cherington said. “It’s a delicate area, obviously, the area he had surgery in. With any surgery there’s no guarantee that you go in and everything is taken care of. In this particular case, unfortunately, they had to go in a second time. I can understand Bobby’s frustration.”
Cherington was asked whether the Red Sox are pursuing any insurance claims.
“I don’t know. It’s not something we’ve discussed at this point,” he said.