Judy Peters went to a major hospital in Massachusetts to have a needle core biopsy procedure performed, but the 15-minute procedure took more than one hour . . . and she ended up with brain damage. And recently, a jury said her physician was "not guilty".
Springfield, MA (BlackNews.com) -- At 45 years of age on May 1, 2006, patient Judy Peters attended an appointment with Dr. Carlos Valdes at a major hospital in Springfield, MA to have a needle core biopsy procedure performed. Dr. Valdes told Ms. Peters this type of procedure would take about 15 minutes. However, Ms. Peters remained on the procedure table for one hour and 35 minutes, during which Dr. Valdes said she hemorrhaged the entire time.
Valdes admitted to administering Epinephrine at least five times during the one and a half hour time interval. A registered nurse was called over the hospital's intercom to come into the procedure room in order to take Ms. Peters' vitals. At 10:10 a.m. the nurse recorded that the patient's pulse dropped to two beats per minute and at 10:20 it had gone up to six beats per minute though a hand writing expert uncovered that those numbers had been tampered with. The patient's blood pressure was recorded to have dropped to 80/50 mm/hg. However, Ms. Peters heard the nurse say 60/50. The patient soon fell unconscious on the procedure table and was moved to a different room in which she remained unconscious for one hour. She was not provided oxygen, IV fluids, or a blood transfusion. She was not taken to the Emergency Room (despite the fact that the ER was on the same floor as Dr. Valdes' office) nor was she taken to the Intensive Care Unit.
When she woke up from her unconscious state, Dr. Valdes instructed Ms. Peters to return home and drink orange juice and she will be fine in three weeks. It took Ms. Peters ten hours to drive herself home, when it usually takes one hour. She was forced to continually stop at various locations along the way to sleep. She does not remember the majority of the trip home.
Ms. Peters called Dr. Valdes the following day to ask about the results of her biopsy, and after he did not return her phone calls she asked her son to drive her to his office to get the results. When Ms. Peters arrived she removed her winter gloves (in the beginning of May) to show Dr. Valdes how cold and blue her hands were. She also showed him her blue lips and discolored face. He told her that he did not get enough samples so he could not tell Ms. Peters if she had cancer or not. But again, Dr. Valdes instructed Ms. Peters to return home and drink orange juice and she will be fine in three weeks. Ms. Peters did as Dr. Valdes instructed believing that if she followed the instructions of the specialized physician she would be okay.
After three very difficult weeks, Ms. Peters was not okay and contacted her primary care doctor's office and they instructed her to go to the Emergency Room, which she immediately did. Upon arrival, they discovered that she had a bradycardia, and was administered two units of blood over her four-day stay in the emergency room and hospital.
Prior to the incident Ms. Peters rarely visited the doctor. Usually once a year for a routine check-up and for pregnancy related visits only, and prior to the procedure the only ailment she was diagnosed with was menstrual cycle related anemia. From the date of the procedure, Ms. Peters has had numerous appointments with many doctors in various specialties, sometimes as many as four per week. She has suffered from damage in the heart, lung, brain, thymus, pancreas , and both eyes which have resulted in her being diagnosed with Lung Nodules, Asthma, Glaucoma, Insulin Dependent Diabetes, Lupus, Cognitive Memory Impairment, and Clinical Depression.
On March 13, 2014, the jury found Dr. Valdes "not guilty". Valdes' lawyer asked Ms. Peters why, on May 1 (after Dr. Valdes sent her home and said she would be fine) she did not find another hospital to go to? Since when is it the responsibility of the patient to provide their own medical care when they are in a critical condition?
Ms. Peters is an African American Muslim female represented by an African American Muslim male lawyer. She would hate to assume that racism and prejudice played a role in the outcome of the case, but when only the non-White jury members had things happen to them to delay the trial, it is difficult to expect that the evidence was viewed from an objective position and that the final verdict was just.
Ms. Peters' life has changed for the worst in so many ways since this "simple" procedure. People entrust their lives in physicians' hands and as such it should be insured that they are receiving the best possible care. Ms. Peters was a healthy 45 year old woman when she walked into Dr. Carlos Valdes' office. She did not receive the proper care that should have been provided to her, and she wants justice for what she has lost of her health and quality of life. She has been fighting for many years and will continue to fight. She is planning to appeal the case.