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Arlington Texas Airman Getting Life Back on Track After Losing Legs

An Arlington airman lost his legs in a botched gallbladder surgery at a military hospital in California.

Colton Read had been having stomach problems while stationed at Beale Air Force Base near Sacramento, Calif. He agreed to have laparoscopic gallbladder surgery.

During the procedure, an instrument being threaded through his belly nicked his aorta and cut off blood flow to his legs. He was moved from the David Grant Medical Center at Travis Air Force Base to the University of California Davis Medical Center in Sacramento. Surgeons there had to amputate both legs.

A 1950 Supreme Court decision known as the Feres Doctrine does not allow military personnel or their families to collect damages from military doctors for negligence or malpractice.

Read more: http://www.star-telegram.com/2010/04/17/2122240/arlington-airman-getting-life.html#ixzz0lhc6g4KW

The Army Times obtained, through a Freedom of Information Act request, a copy of a command-directed investigation report that had been ordered by Maj. Gen. Winfield Scott, former commander of the 18th Air Force, which oversees Travis Air Force Base. On March 22, the newspaper cited the heavily redacted report, which detailed moment to moment what happened to Colton from the time he walked into David Grant to when he was flown to U.C.-Davis.

The report says that Read’s surgery went wrong almost immediately after it began, about 9 a.m. July 9, with two surgeons, one a male resident with the rank of captain, the other a female attending staff surgeon with the rank of major. All names are redacted from the report, the Times reported.

Two hours later, Colton Read had lost almost 31/2 liters of blood — there are about 5 liters in an average man — his legs were blue, and it would be more than eight hours later before he would be moved to another hospital.

By the time doctors at U.C.-Davis received Colton and operated again to repair the aorta and restore blood flow to his legs, they could not be saved. The pressure made his legs swell, and the circulation stopped at his knees, according to the report, because the tissue below them had already died.

The Air Force deemed that no one was at fault. Weir said no further Air Force investigations or actions are pending in the Read case.

Colton has undergone more than a dozen surgeries on what is left of his legs to prepare for a full set of prosthetics. His left leg was amputated above the knee and his right leg at mid-thigh. In August, he was moved to base housing at Fort Sam Houston to be near Brooke Army Medical Center. He undergoes intense rehabilitative, physical and occupational therapy at the Center for the Intrepid five days a week.

Read more: http://www.star-telegram.com/2010/04/18/2122240_p3/arlington-airman-getting-life.html#ixzz0lhdlVD8n

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