NC mom sues after alleged surgical mistake left her without hands and feet

CHARLOTTE, NC (WSOC) — A Charlotte mother is challenging North Carolina’s cap on medical malpractice lawsuits after her attorneys say a botched surgery left her without hands and feet.

In a lawsuit filed this week in Mecklenburg County Superior Court, lawyers for Adrienne Harris say the mother of three was diagnosed with an ectopic pregnancy in July 2015.

Her doctors recommended surgery to remove her fallopian tube.

The lawsuit alleges that during the surgery at Carolinas Medical Center-Main, Harris’ small intestine was damaged, but the surgeons didn’t catch the mistake.

The hole in her small intestine allowed the contents to leak into her abdomen causing sepsis.

Harris went back to the hospital in extreme pain, but it took days for doctors to diagnose the hole in her intestine. She then underwent another surgery to repair the hole which resulted in removal of portions of her small bowel and colon.

Organ damage and poor condition brought on by the sepsis caused gangrene to her hands and feet. She next had to have both legs amputated below the knee and both hands.

Harris’ lawyers say because her injuries are so severe, she should be allowed to claim non-economic damages above the $500,000 cap set in place by the North Carolina General Assembly in 2011.

In their constitutional challenge to the cap, they call it an “arbitrary and capricious deprivation of the constitutional rights of an injured individual to recover non-economic damages.”

Named as defendants in the lawsuit are the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Hospital Authority – also known as Carolinas Healthcare or Atrium Health – Dr. Lynn C. Pitson, Dr. Kathryn E. Webb, Dr. Tara M. Vick, NC House Speaker Tim Moore, and NC Senate Leader Phil Berger.

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