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Regina Turner of St. Louis is suing SSM Health Care-St. Louis, for allegedly operating on the wrong side of her skull and brain, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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Turner went in to St. Clare Health Center on April 4th to receive a left-sided craniotomy bypass.

Instead, she received a craniotomy for the right side of her brain, according to a complaint filed in the Circuit Court of St. Louis County in Clayton.

The suit charges SSM and the doctor who operated on Turner with negligence and carelessness. Turner also reportedly suffered cognitive defects from the surgery, the complaint alleges.

“Before the incorrect surgery, plaintiff was mobile, cognizant, and able to care for herself,” the suit charges. “After the incorrect surgery, [Turner] requires around-the-clock care for her basic needs.  [She] will also continue to suffer from emotional distress, anxiety, disfigurement and depression.” Turner cannot speak clearly, lawyer Alvin Wolff Jr. added.

After the operating team discovered their mistake, they ordered a second surgery six days later on the left side of Turner’s brain.

While SSM officials initially declined to comment, St. Clare Health Center President Bill Hoefer released a statement, noting that the hospital is “committed to patient safety and the highest-quality health care. If a medical error does occur, we take it very seriously. We investigate thoroughly to see what processes can be changed to prevent it from ever happening again, and then we make those changes immediately.”

On Wednesday, SSM CEO Chris Howard issued an apology, according to the Associated Press, saying they were “devastated” by the error.

SSM spokeswoman Kirsten Johnson also confirmed that Arnold Levy, the neurosurgeon who operated on Turner, is a SSM Health Care employee in addition to having staff privileges at St. Mary’s Health Center and DePaul Health Center.

According to Wolff, Turner began suffering a series of mini-strokes five years ago. Last December, her speaking ability was affected. The surgery was meant to prevent any future strokes.

Turner’s lawsuit also accuses SSM employees of incorrectly setting up the operating room. They then “stood by and watched A.L. operate on the wrong side of [the] plaintiff’s skull and brain when they could have prevented the error.”

It asks for compensation “sufficient to punish” SSM and Levy for what it characterizes as their “complete indifference to or conscious disregard for the safety of Regina Turner.”

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