Patient Story

Your Name: Kris Tufaro

Patient's Name/Relationship: John Tufaro/Spouse

City/State: Milford, CT

When did event occur (what year)? 2011-2013

Where did event occur? Acute Care General Hospital

What type of medical harm did you experience or witness? Healthcare-Acquired Infection

Please describe what happened. Knee replacement ended in Right Leg Removal. My husband had a knee replacement back in 2008. In July of 2011 the cement failed in the replacement. He had to have the replacement replaced and during this hospital stay he got a Staph infection. He had 14 operations between July of 2011 until the last one on June 5, 2013 which was to remove his right leg half-way between where his knee was and his hip. They did a total of 4 additional knee replacements on him and each time they took one out, they had to chisel it out and each time they put one back in it was by hammering it in. Each time loosing more bone. Between each replacement, they gave him antibiotics thru the heart at a cost of $22,000 every three days for 8 Weeks - 5 different times! We had countless emergency room visits that ended up as hospital stays. Sometimes he would go a few weeks to a month or so between the replacements and 1 time he even went a few months before the infection "came back". The most horrifying emergency room visit was when he woke me up trying to cry for help (he was running a 104 fever and shivering) - thank GOD I heard him in the other room! ---- The infection was back once again and his KNEE CAP HAD SHATTERED FROM THE INFECTION! I stopped adding up the medical bills when it hit 1.5 Million - I just couldn't look anymore. We did have health insurance but the co-pays were unbelievable. Admittance into the hospital many of the times was $1,500 and each time someone stopped by his room it was $25 plus all the co-pays for meds etc. He lost his job and eventually the medical ran out on his work plan. I was faced with a new bill for healthcare of $1,783 per month for us both along with the mortgage, car insurance, gas, electric etc..... I am self employed (his wife) and while I thankfully was able to get work 7 days a week and my parents helped us with some of the house bills, we had to sell our home and many things in order to live a MUCH less expensive life now that he couldn't work (we didn't live very expensive to begin with). His last step was June 1, 2013 on 2 legs. They had to remove his leg in 2 separate operations as the 1st try they said the infection was so bad that his leg burst and the infection ooz hit the ceiling! they had to operate again 2 days laterafter they calmed the infection down. My husband will never work again as all the meds they had him on changed him. Methadone became just like aspirin and no longer helped. They had him on so many painkillers that he became immune to many! One of the antibiotics they had him on damaged his kidneys. This took place in St. Raphael hospital which is part Yale Medical in new Haven, CT. Yes - part of the University of YALE teaching hospital. He had to wait over 6 months after they took his leg to get a prosthetic leg because it turned out that most private insurance Cover only between 20% and 50% of a prosthetic IF they cover them at all! The insurance I had at the time covered 50% and we were told that we were very lucky to have one cover that much! The one he would need started at $45,000 and we just didn't have that kind of money as I had used all our savings (years of hard earned savings) on our regular bills as my paycheck was much less than what he had been making before he lost his job due to this situation. Finally he was eligible for Medicare which covers prosthetics and he now has one. However, he gets awful sores at times and has to leave it off when they happen for a few days at a time. I am very grateful he didn't die from this but it's so very sad that a good man that loved to work will never do so again. He was a truck driver that moved heavy equipment and it's his right leg they removed (let alone the damage to his body and mind). The cost to our lives is far higher than just loosing a leg. It affects much more than just walking. 

What was the outcome of the medical harm issue? Permanent disability