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A 66-year-old cancer survivor is now suing Catholic Healthcare West and St. Joseph’s Hospital for operating on the wrong set of his vocal cords, alleging medical malpractice.

Larry Bimbo’s left vocal cords were paralyzed from undergoing radiation therapy many years ago for lung cancer. However, he now claims in court papers the doctors treated his healthy, right vocal cords instead, cutting off his ability to speak, breath and swallow.
“The mistake could very well have killed him,” said Tempe lawyer Christopher Piekarski, who is representing Bimbo. “His health greatly deteriorated while under their car. Standard care was indeed violated.”
Bimbo’s lawsuit was filed on January 4th at Superior Court in Mesa. Defendants also named are Scottsdale physician Jerry Josen and Arizona Otolaryngology Consults.

In June 2005, Bimbo lived in Phoenix when he consented to a larvngogplasty, a type of implant surgery to treat his left vocal cords.

Piekarski said the paralysis likely occurred years ago, after Bimbo underwent radiation therapy for lung cancer that is now in remission. The paralysis was painful and caused him shortness of breath and made his voice hoarse.

Another physician removed the implant in a follow up procedure and repaired the paralyzed left cord in a third surgery about six months ago, Piekarski said.

Josen never has been disciplined or reprimanded by the Arizona Medical Board since becoming licensed to practice in the state in May 2000, according to the agency’s Web site.

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