A medical malpractice and wrongful death complaint has been filed by the

estate of a man who died from complications that arose during a routine biopsy of a head tumor.

Jodie Pham, administrator of the estate of the late Long Pham, filed suit last week at the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas against Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Jefferson University Physicians and Thomas O. Wilcox, the physician who performed the biopsy.

Wilcox suggested the biopsy after Long Pham was admitted to Thomas Jefferson Hospital on Dec. 3, 2011, with complaints of decreased vision in his right eye and involuntary dropping of the right eyelid, the complaint states.

Doctors soon discovered that the patient had a tumor in his sinus skull base.

After reading through MRI results, Wilcox said he wanted to perform the biopsy over concerns that the tumor could be malignant, the suit states.

Pham underwent the biopsy five days after being admitted to the hospital, the record shows.

The man began to bleed profusely, however, when Wilcox excised a third biopsy sample from the tumor during the medical procedure, the complaint states.

Pham was taken from the operating room to the endovascular division for a cerebrovascular evaluation because of concerns that there was injury to his internal carotid artery during the biopsy procedure.

A neurosurgeon soon concluded that Pham’s internal carotid artery had been dissected and that the patient had suffered a brain hemorrhage as a result of the dissection, the suit states.

Surgeons attempted to repair the artery and stem the blood loss, the lawsuit states, but Pham ended up suffering a stroke, respiratory failure and brain swelling.

Pham’s cognitive functions soon began to rapidly deteriorate and the patient became unresponsive and lost consciousness, the complaint reads.

He ended up passing away in mid-April of last year from what the complaint says were injuries caused by the defendants’ negligence.

The plaintiff accuses the defendants of various acts of negligence, including, but not limited to, failing to properly isolate and protect Pham’s internal carotid arteries during the biopsy procedure, dissecting Pham’s artery during the biopsy, “improperly and unnecessarily” trying to obtain a third biopsy sample after having successfully obtained two other samples, failing to consult with an appropriate specialist to assess the probability of the tumor being malignant, and utilizing improper surgical techniques on the decedent.

The lawsuit contains counts of professional negligence, vicarious liability, corporate liability, wrongful death, and survival action.

The plaintiff seeks damages for the pecuniary losses sustained by Pham’s estate as a result of his death, as well as damages for the pain and suffering endured by Long Pham up to and including the time of his death, which occurred when Pham was 55 years old.

The lawsuit was filed by Lansdale, Pa. attorneys Steven B. Barrett and James S. Lee, of the firm Hamburg, Rubin, Mullin, Maxwell & Lupin.


The case ID number is 130903008.

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