New York Post
Sunday March 26, 2006
By Susan Edelman
A Brooklyn woman claims a gynecologist named in 10 malpractice suits removed her healthy ovaries and fallopian tubes—but left behind the tumor that was supposed to be excised.
In a suit filed in Brooklyn this month, Gladys Rivera claims Dr. Alejandro Alcaide needlessly cut out her reproductive organs—and left a lemon-sized mass in her abdomen, “I’ll never be the same,” said the mom and clothing-factory worker, who went into sudden menopause at age 41. “He ruined my life.” The shock of the surgery was followed by more abdominal pain. To her horror, another doctor informed her the tumor was still inside — and bigger. He removed the benign mass, plus a piece of her intestine.
Alcaide, who works at Flushing Hospital Medical Center in Queens, would not comment.
The 41-year-old doctor has been named in 10 other malpractice suits involving hospitals in Brooklyn and Queens. In 2000, Alcaide induced labor to deliver a 10-pound stillborn baby from a 28-year-old woman, and massive bleeding occurred when her uterus ruptured from a prior Caesarian section. She settled in 2004 for “six figures,” said a source close to the case.
In 1999, Alcaide allegedly failed to do proper prenatal testing on a 17-year-old girl who became anemic. When labor was induced, she bled so heavily that Alcaide performed a complete hysterectomy. That case also settled before trial.
In Rivera’s case, a doctor who had diagnosed her tumor recommended an MRI to pinpoint its location. Alcaide never had that test done, the suit alleges.
“He just assumed the mass was part of an ovary, but how could he justify removing both ovaries and her tubes?” said Rivera’s lawyer, Michael Gunzburg. “It’s like a man going in to remove a lesion in his groin, but the doctor cuts off both testicles instead.”
Alcaide’s post-op report says he decided during the Nov. 5, 2004, surgery to remove Rivera’s ovaries because of her age, her chronic pain, and because she “already has desired family.”
Rivera, who has two grown kids, said Alcaide had warned her before the operation he might have to remove a damaged ovary if the tumor was attached to it. “I begged him not to remove the ovary,” she said. After surgery, Alcaide told Rivera she would need hormones to maintain her hair and skin and to prevent “everything from falling,” she said. He also told her to expect a loss of sexual function.
Additional reporting by Ikimulisa Livingston