Reporting Dave Savini
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JOLIET, Ill. (CBS) – A weight-loss surgery turned into a nightmare and cost a woman both of her legs.
CBS 2 Investigator Dave Savini examines allegations that she was not properly monitored or treated, in part, because she was hospitalized during a holiday.
Life for Mary Beth Ruphard has changed drastically since last Thanksgiving. Weighing 278 pounds, she went to Provena St. Joseph Medical Center, in Joliet, for surgery to beat her battle with obesity.
“I just wanted to live longer, live better you know, said Ruphard. “I had diabetes (and) hypertension as my risk factors.”
Ruphard had weight-loss surgery in early November, then was back in the hospital for surgery to repair a perforation. Then, on Thanksgiving morning, she started complaining about her legs.
“I did complain to a nurse,” said Ruphard. “I say, ‘my legs, they are aching and they are tingling.’”
Repeated notes in her medical chart say Ruphard’s toes were cold and blue then later there was no feeling below the knees. She reportedly was losing circulation, but no immediate action was taken, according to her attorney Laird Ozmon.
“The doctor that amputated her legs was highly upset and made the statement, ‘Why was I not called in earlier’?” said Ozmon.
Ozmon says it then took 36 hours for another surgeon to be called in, to try and save her legs. It was too late and both legs had to be amputated.
“I remember laying in the bed kind of feeling down here and not being able to feel anything,” Ruphard said while pointing to the bottom of her leg. “No knees, no calves, no nothing.”
Ozmon filed a lawsuit against the medical center claiming they failed to monitor her and failed to act when she had symptoms of blood clots in her legs, even though he says they knew she had a pre-existing blood clotting condition.
“Simply because someone happens to get ill on a holiday doesn’t mean that their not entitled to that same standard of care, and that clearly, clearly in this case was not abided by,” said Ozmon.
Ruphard is still recovering and trying to deal with new limitations.
“Being able to walk alongside my husband holding his hand or, you know, dancing to our wedding song,” said Ruphard. “That’s not going to happen again.”
A statement from Provena St. Joseph Medical Center said the surgery carries risks and complications. It also said patients are diligently monitored and cared for.
“While patient privacy laws prevent us from commenting on the specifics of this isolated incident, this patient’s continued recovery remains in our prayers,” officials said in a prepared statement.