Saturday, July 21, 2007

Not Everybody Is Buying Weis' Story

Week 1 of Crewcut Charlie Weis' malpractice lawsuit against two Massachusetts General doctors drew to a close Friday, and the case is expected to be turned over to the jury by the middle of next week.

Weis, the Notre Dame coach and former New England Patriot assistant, saw his weight soar to an estimated 350 pounds before he sought help through gastric bypass surgery in July 2002. Weis suffered internal bleeding after the procedure and had to undergo a second surgery to stop the hemorrhage. The critically ill Weis slipped in and out of a coma for two weeks and has claimed carelessness on the part of the doctors nearly cost him his life.

Weis, described in an Associated Press account as a "notoriously foul-mouthed understudy to Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick in the NFL, sat quietly and alone in a Suffolk County courtroom this week while the doctors and lawyers discussed his medical care."

Not everybody is buying Weis' story. A 42-year-old woman posted an entry Friday on her MySpace page that was critical of Weis. The woman is scheduled to undergo gastric bypass surgery in Septemeber by the same doctor, Charles Ferguson, who performed the procedure on Weis.

"If you believe the news coverage, this fiendish butcher [Ferguson], wielding a stapler that he bought for a $1.99 from Office Depot, hacked poor Charlie's insides to pieces, then went vacationing on the Vineyard, leaving Weis to bleed to death in the hands of uncaring doctors who don't know their asses from a hole in the ground.

"None of the media remember to mention the part where Weis wanted next-day surgery. Because of his status, it seems that he was allowed to bypass [pun intended] all of the required preliminary testing and dieting and counseling and waiting that us regular folk are subjected to. I first requested my PCP for a referral in December, 2006. My surgery is scheduled for September, 2007 [rescheduled from August to September thanks to Mr. Weis' lawsuit, thanks Charlie]."

She adds: "I read in several of the news articles that Mr. Weis is quoted as calling himself a stupid ass, or words to that effect, because he had weight loss surgery. He's not a stupid ass for having weight loss surgery. He's a stupid ass for thinking that WLS is a risk-free, easy and fast fix to a complicated problem."

The see where we stand as the trial prepares for Week 2, let's turn to our medical expert. Gary Gaffney, M.D. University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics, also operates the site Steroid Nation:

"The tabloid interest in the Charlie Weis gastric bypass trial deflated during the first week after the announcement that New England Patriot quarterback Tom Brady would not be testifying. Photos from the trial revealed an almost empty courtroom as Weis sat alone on the front bench.

"Arguments from the trial traveled the same paths as the first case, which ended in mistrial: Plaintiff attorneys say the Harvard surgeons allow Weis to bleed too long, leading to coma, near death and resultant disability, while defense lawyers pointed out the risks of bariatric surgery and that Weis was a rather non-compliant patient.

"Team Weis scored points as they obtained an admission from Ferguson that the bleeding cut off circulation to a loop of bowel, causing it to explode. Contamination of the abdominal cavity then led to the coma. That argument could establish the four key points of medical negligence if the jury so chooses to buy the plaintiff's logic."

Previous coverage:
Preview: A legal perspective
Day 1: Battle lines drawn
Day 2: Weis' hired hand returns
Day 3
: Weis takes the stand
Day 4: Team Weis scores a victory
The mistrial: A look back at our coverage of the first trial.

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