A Malpractice Lawyer Goes Through Cancer

Little Rock Medical Malpractice Lawyer Serving All of Arkansas


A Unique Perspective

In mid-December of 2023, I was diagnosed with leukemia--a cancer of the blood which causes a spectacular proliferation of white blood cells.  So many, in fact, that my blood became unable to carry sufficient oxygen, and became a "sludge" of white blood cells crowding out other blood components.  I had been short of breath for a couple of weeks, thought I may have had the flu or covid.

My excellent PCP had a chest xray done, but my lungs were clear.  Then one morning I woke up with huge dark purple bruises all over my body, and even more trouble breathing.  I called my PCP and he sent me to the ER at Baylor Medical Center in downtown Dallas. And he told me to pack a bag.  

Uh oh.

There the diagnosis was made almost immediately with blood testing, and I was admitted to the Pickens Cancer Hospital on the Baylor campus for just under six weeks of treatment.  First stop was the seventh floor, known as "Pickens Seven".  I came to realize in my time there how incredibly fortunate I was to get a place there, and to be cared for by those doctors and nurses.   I am convinced that in most other hospitals I would have died.  They saved my life through the application of great skill, fantastic state of the art laboratory and blood centers, and most of all caring.

A Malpractice Lawyer Watches Nurses Saving His Life

As a malpractice lawyer I knew too much for my own good:  it was apparent that I was dying.  But it was also immediately apparent that Pickens Seven was the place I needed to be.  Much of my time there I don't remember clearly, but I do remember that the nurses were without exception exceptionally well trained and thorough.  And exceptionally kind.

Doing what I do, I have handled dozens of cases where people were hurt or were killed because of poorly trained or apathetic nurses, and because doctors didn't pay attention.   I know what good medical care looks like, and my clients have told me many times what bad medical care feels like.  I'm telling everyone what exceptional care feels like from my perspective:  it feels calming, and warm and peaceful.  When four nurses and staff come into your room at four in the morning and do things to and for you as a superbly drilled team, you can feel irritated at the loss of sleep.

I felt such peace of mind and gratitude it is hard to express.  I knew I was very sick.  I also knew that everything--every single thing--that could be done to save me was being done.

Three in the morning or three in the afternoon, my nurses missed nothing.  Their sterile technique was always flawless--every time, every nurse.  And always calm and kind.  I needed a lot of care--blood products and medications every day all day and all night at first.  Then I gradually got better.  My mind, which had been dulled by the disease and the drugs, woke up again.  I was able to eat normally again, and to start moving around with my IV pole instead of sitting all day.

"Voted Off the Island"

And one day, one of the nurses on Pickens Seven came to tell me it was time to go.  I still needed to be in the cancer hospital, but they had saved me on Pickens Seven and now needed my place there to save someone else.  Because that's what they do on Seven: they are the front line.

I didn't like it one bit.  I joked about having been "voted off the island" like in the TV show "Survivor", and I knew they had saved me, and I knew that somebody else really needed my place, but...I didn't like it.

When I got out of the hospital I had two months of daily chemotherapy infusions at another building on the Baylor campus.    More kind and skilled nurses there, but this time I was better off than almost all the other patients around me.  My infusions were unpleasant, but nothing like as bad as others I saw.  And I was going to live.  Many of them were not.

What's Changed?

I'm back to work now, representing people who were hurt or lost a loved one due to malpractice.  My time with cancer I view as a bad time that hopefully made me a better man.  I am so much more grateful and appreciative for things and people now.  I am going to live.

People ask me if it feels wrong to pursue medical malpractice cases after the spectacular care that saved me.  I don't think so.  I saw what can be done.  I live because nurses did their jobs right.  Others are being hurt and dying because nurses are not doing their jobs.  My clients and I are working to make things better.  

It would have been so easy for me to die of my leukemia.  If they hadn't diagnosed it correctly.  If I hadn't been sent to Baylor.  If there hadn't been a place for me on Pickens Seven.  If even one of the dozens of nurses or doctors who cared for me had screwed up.  If the lab had made a mistake with my testing or blood infusions.  If, if, if. 

In my practice I've seen it all happen to other people.  It doesn't need to happen to anyone.