Post: I need a Medical Malpractice attorney
Posted by Heather Costello on 8/04/10
Hi, my name is Heather Costello. I am currently
searching for a malpractice attorney that will consider
taking my case. I am 38 years old, have three children,
and am currently in a relationship that has lasted 10
years. I have a wonderful man, that has been through a lot
with me since my first surgery that took place in May
2006. I feel I need an attorney because I believe that the
Dr. that performed my last two surgeries has caused the
permenant damage to the nerve root in my spine. I feel some
one should pay for the life I now have to live because of
surgery. I also can't have the career I was training for
because of the damage caused by surgery. I only had to
complete my externship and I was to become a Dental
Assistant. Because of the fact that I couln't complete my
externship in the time aloud, they dropped me frome the
program. I don't fell I should have to pay back the loans
for school, It isn't my fault I can't complete my
externship, it is Dr. Bellabarba's fault and I believe he
should have to repay my loans. My life has changed
dramatically since the surgery. I can't do everyday things
without help and going through a lot of pain. Dr.
Bellabarba should be held responsible for his and the
actions of his medical team, and have to pay for the
mistakes made during surgery. He gets to go on and live his
life without a second thought of what he caused my life to
become and I don't think this is right.
If anyone out there might be able to take on my case,
please read the following detailed report of what has
occurred and contact me immediately. I can be E-mailed at
@hotmail.com, I will then call you. Please leave a way for
me to contact you and thank you for your time. I am
begging for someone out there to read and contact me. I
need an attorney!!!! Please help!!!
Prior to my first surgery I was in pain everyday.
My doctor and I spoke about the possibility of surgery and
I decided against it at first.
Over the next year, the pain increased to the point I was
bed ridden, I couldn't walk more than 10 feet w/o sitting
or lying down to rest.
At that point, the doctor decided to do more testing, Dr.
decided that surgery was the only option, so I agreed.
Dr. Mirza with HMC preformed my first surgery in May 2006.
The Dr. took me to surgery for an L4-L5 fusion and
exploration surgery. (They placed titanium screws and used
cadaver shin boneas the spacer)
Everything went great, and I was up the next day walking,
my recovery was very fast.
All went well for the next couple of years. No pain,
walking great, spent time doing a lot more with my kids.
I started having spasms in my hip and back so, I went to
see my Primary Care Physician. (Dr. Felts)
Dr. Felts had x-rays taken and put me in physical therapy
immediately. I went to Kitsasp Physical Therapy for an
evaluation.In the meantime, I called several times to get
the x-ray results.
When physical therapy was'nt working, the Therapist wanted
to see my x-ray results.
She was able to get them faxed over to her instantly.
She (P.T.) then asked me if I knew I had a broken screw in
my back. I informed her that I did not but I had been
trying to get the x-ray results for about three weeks.
I then contacted the spine center at Harborview around June
Dr. Mirza was no longer there, so they set me an
appointment with the surgeon that trained Dr. Mizra, Dr.
Dr. Bellbarba had tests ran to see what was going on. (MRI,
mylogram CT scan.)
The results showed a broken srew and one was unscrewing and
that the original fusion from 2006 never took.
Dr. Bellabarba decided surgery was the only option, before
more damage was caused.
Dr. Bellabarba wanted to revise the origional fusion,
replace the hardware, and try my own bone as graft, and go
down one more vertabrea for more stability. (L4-L5-SI
Surgery took place 9/9/09.
After the surgery was over, the Dr. told my family
everything went great, no problems.
I immediately noticed issues with my foot and leg, I
could'nt move my left side at all, I couldn't move or feel
my big toe on the left side, and my pain was increasing
Dr. ran more tests, Mylo-CT, MRI, and nerve conduction
Dr. Bellabarba explaind he could'nt tell me why or how it
happened but tests proved that the nerve damage was caused
directly from surgery.
One of his theories was the possibility that he nicked the
nerve root causing permanent nerve damage.
Dr. also discovered that the graft he placed had shifted
dramatically in the last 3 months.He said that if the graft
shifts any more it could cause significant damage, like
So, we needed to go back to surgery for the third time.
Dr. Bellabarba said there was nothing that could be done
about nerve damage but they needed to replace the graft
with a bigger one, use bigger hardware for more stability
and shift the graft back into place.
Dr. then sent me to get fitted for an orthodic (AFO) on
(my foot has complete foot drop, need orthodic or I trip
over my big toe and have fallen.
The next surgery was scheduled for 1/6/10.
Again, after surgery, the Dr. came and told my family
everything went great. Except when they got in my spine,
the scar tissue was so bad around the graft that they
could'nt replace it w/o causing more damage. Dr. tried to
srape and had to stop, to not cause damage.
The next day we discovered the nerve damage cause by 9/9/09
surgery had been worsened by this surgery. The scraping the
Dr. tried to do during surgery caused even more damage and
I have severe pain everyday, permanent foot drop, have to
wear an orthotic, and have to go to pain clinic for long-
term pain management.
Dr. has opoligized multiple times to me, and called me
personally to see how I was doing.
During this conversation he said, “ Heather I now your not
nieve, but I just hope you will give me a chance to help
you live the best possibly life under the circumstances.
Now, my Dr. sent me to the wrong person for my after care.
Dr. Butler, P.A., (Dr. Bellabarba's partner at th time)sent
me to Andrea Breuner to set me up with what he said was
some kind of long-term pain management.
After the second apppointment with her, she informed me
that her job was to get me off all pain medications I was
I Spoke to Dr. Butler the next day and he then started the
process of getting me in with the University of
Washington's pain clinic.
In the meantime, I had to endure more and more pain
everyday, while they were cutting me off my pain
medications very quickly.
At my first appointment, we discussed different option on
how to go about pain management. They prescribed me with
gabapentin (Neurontin), I take 3600 mg a day. That is 1200
mg. More than the FDA recommends. I was also prescribed
methadone, I started on a low dose and now I am taking 50mg
a day, which is 10mg more than reccomended.
The medication has had quite an effect an my everyday life.
I am still have breakthrough pain and I nod out all the
time. I don't want to increase my meds, so they have now
ask me about having another procedure done to place
a in my spine to see if it might help.
I am very hesitant about getting any other procedures
having to do with my spine. I didn't think what happened
would, so, the fear is always there.
The worst part of all of this is that I had been working on
becoming a dental assistant, all I had left was to do my
externship. I was a honor roll student all the way through
school, so I know I would have done great in the field.
The doctor thought it would be best to wait till after the
surgery to do my esternship. After the surgery, I had to
get ready for another surgery right away, so no time to do
externship. After the last one I found out I will never be
able to work in the Dental field. I am on too many
medications, too much pain, and I use an orthodic and need
arm crutches to get around. The school informed me that
they had to drop me because I wasn't going to be able to
finish my externship.
I am also not able to do everyday tasks anymore without
assistance. (cooking, vaccuuming, dishes, and general
My sex life has suffered greatly, sex causes me a lot of
pain and stress.
This has all caused a lot of stress and work for my S.O. of
ten years. Our relationship is suffering and talk of
splitting up has come up because of all the stress.
I can't take walks anymore, just walking from the house to
the car is a challenge.
Riding in the car causes me pain which in turn causes
stress. We used to go for long car rides and went camping
All of the activities I enjoy, now just cause me pain and
stress. Swimming, walking in the sand, sledding, and even
watching my kids at sporting events cause me too much pain
and in turn stresses me out, which usually causes issues in
my relationship, which has never been an issue before the
If I could say one thing to help you understand what this
has done to my life, and my family ; I would have to say
that I don't feel like I am living life anymore, I feel
like I'm just sitting here watching it pass by me.
Posts on this thread, including this one
- I need a Medical Malpractice attorney, 8/04/10, by Heather Costello.
- Re: I need a Medical Malpractice attorney, 8/05/10, by law forum.
- Re: I need a Medical Malpractice attorney, 8/05/10, by law.
- Re: I need a Medical Malpractice attorney, 2/14/11, by CarAccidentVictim.
- Re: I need a Medical Malpractice attorney, 4/29/11, by Nick.