If you drive west of Detroit for about 8 hours, you will come to the small Iowa town of Lisbon, near Cedar Rapids. Named after the capital of Portugal, the town of about 2,000 is home to a woman who recently filed a medical malpractice lawsuit over surgical errors that she claims caused brain damage.
She is asking the court to order the University of Iowa hospital to pay her $6 million in compensatory damages.
A little more than two years ago, a doctor there diagnosed her with a non-cancerous tumor in her brain lining. He scheduled surgery in June to remove the tumor, along with a portion of her skull.
That portion was replaced by titanium mesh held in place by screws, according to a recent news article.
Within a month, infection set in. Documents filed in court apparently state that the hospital's own Infectious Disease Department says the mesh should have been replaced in order to quell the infection. At that time, the doctor decided against removing it, however.
In January of last year, the woman, 74, contacted the hospital, complaining of pain along the incision and headaches. Three days later, she underwent surgery; this time, the doctor decided to replace the titanium mesh. But the mesh was stuck to brain membrane; when removed, it caused substantial blood loss.
That, in turn, resulted in a stroke that resulted in an inability to speak or follow commands. She continues to struggle "with most cognitive functions," the article states, as well as vision and memory losses.
We do not know if she will prevail in court, but we do know that the fight for compensation and justice begins with a conversation with an attorney experienced in medical malpractice litigation across the nation.