RIO RANCHO, N.M. (KRQE) – A medical procedure gone wrong is costing Presbyterian Rust Medical Center $22.7 million after a jury found it liable for the botched surgery of a Kirtland Air Force veteran.
Upon being discharged from the Rio Rancho hospital on April 15, 2019, Armando Graham complained about being in pain from a surgery done three days earlier. “Armando has had probably the most brutal surgery any man could ever have,” said Graham’s attorney, Lisa Curtis.
According to a release sent out by Graham’s attorneys, his surgery was meant to treat a prostate cancer diagnosis. However, according to Graham’s attorneys, the hospital failed to provide proper care for the now 69-year-old, saying the hospital and its staff disregarded Graham’s concerns. “They had all of the choices and he didn’t have any of them, that is not how it’s supposed to work. That is the unfairness of all of it, the doctors not caring, not paying attention, not giving him choices, not getting the right people involved to take care of him,” Curtis said.
Graham has since undergone 17 surgeries to correct the damage done. His attorneys say he experienced complications after a tear wasn’t caught by medical professionals. They say the tear later became infected, leaving Graham with everyday challenges. “He has mechanical things to make stuff work now. All the scar tissue that has grown down and cemented his belly means he can’t stand up straight, ever,” Curtis said.
After four years of dealing with complications, Sandoval County jurors found Presbyterian liable for the damage. Graham’s attorney says it’s a small price to pay compared to what her client has been through. “It’s a very inexpensive lesson for them and it was a really hard lesson for Armando that he couldn’t trust them,” said Curtis. Graham is soon to undergo his 18th surgery at the Mayo Clinic. The attorney in the case says Graham has over $800 thousand in medical debt, and that number is climbing.
In an emailed statement, a Presbyterian Healthcare services spokesperson said, “At Presbyterian, we are deeply committed to caring for the patients and communities we serve. We are evaluating next steps in this case and anticipate additional legal proceedings.”