Anchorage surgeon in photo suit settles spinal malpractice claim
An Anchorage doctor accused of photographing one patient’s genitals during spine surgery has settled a separate claim that he fused the wrong vertebrae of another patient, leaving her with permanent nerve damage.
Court records show that Dr. Louis Kralick settled the injured woman’s malpractice lawsuit, dating back to 2013, on Wednesday. The settlement, whose terms were not disclosed, headed off a jury’s pending punitive award of just over $275,000 in damages as well as pain and suffering.
According to a civil complaint in the suit, the woman went under Kralick’s knife in November 2013 for spinal fusion work on the lower five vertebrae in her neck. She later learned that the surgery had instead fused her four lowest neck vertebrae to the topmost one in her thoracic spine.
“[The patient] complained of constant pain at the base of her neck, numbness in her bilateral upper extremities, left greater than right, numbness in her left thumb, index and middle fingers, occasional numbness in her right hand and severe headaches,” the complaint read.
Kralick’s office had learned of the discrepancy from X-rays in post-operation appointments with the woman, according to the complaint, but she first learned of it from a chiropractor in Wasilla.
The woman subsequently underwent additional procedures to remove misplaced screws in her spine, according to the complaint. When the suit was filed in December 2015, she still needed further surgery and was experiencing neck pain most days she described as a six to seven, on a scale from zero to 10.
Kralick has previously been in the news due to a lawsuit filed against him by another patient in March, alleging that the surgeon took “one or more photos” of the man’s genitals during a December procedure using an iPhone and sent them to at least one other person.
Both incidents in the lawsuits took place during surgery conducted by Kralick at Providence Alaska Medical Center. Providence was named as a defendant in the smartphone suit, but not the malpractice matter.
Neither side’s attorneys in the malpractice suit was immediately available for comment Thursday afternoon.
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