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The Villages
Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Villages Health doctor accused by another patient of botched procedure

Dr. Harsha Rajashekar headshot
Dr. Harsha Rajashekar

A doctor who is currently being sued by one of his former patients is facing a similar lawsuit from a patient who claims he suffered a spinal hematoma after receiving a lumbar injection from the physician.

The lawsuit was filed on Oct. 30 in Sumter County circuit court by Barry Morgan of Orlando-based Morgan Law Office on behalf of his client, John B. Matthews, and his wife, Phyllis Matthews.

The suit claims that, while working for The Villages Health System, Dr. Harsha Rajashekar allegedly performed a procedure on Mr. Matthews that led to an injury with “permanent or continuing” losses.

According to the complaint, Rajashekar performed a lumbar epidural steroid injection on Mr. Matthews on Dec. 13, 2021. During the procedure, Matthews claims that he “experienced a sudden abnormal and unusual pain which persisted following the procedure.”

Matthews was discharged to go home and says that the pain “worsened to the point that pain in his back and legs became unbearable.” He says he developed “weakness in his lower extremities” and other symptoms that were “indicative of a potential complication arising from the epidural injection,” according to the complaint.

Matthews says that he and his family made “repeated calls to the Villages Health System switchboard,” and that his “family’s concerns were inadequately communicated by the switchboard personnel to Dr. Rajashekar or were otherwise given inadequate attention” by the doctor.

On Dec. 14, 2021, Matthews says his symptoms worsened and included a “profound weakness and pain.” His family allegedly made calls that morning. According to the complaint, the “urgency of the calls was either inadequately communicated” or was ignored by the doctor and his nurse.

“As a result, [Mr. Matthews] continued to suffer with the hematoma throughout the day and was not provided a return appointment until late in the day,” according to the complaint.

During the return appointment on December 14, 2021, the complaint alleges that a nurse was instructed by Rajashekar “by phone” to order a “STAT CT examination” to assess for “bleeding into the spinal canal.”

That evening, the results of a scan showed an epidural hematoma of the spine. According to the complaint, a radiologist “attempted to contact” the nurse regarding the findings, “but was unable to reach her.”

Matthews’ attorneys argue that the doctor and his nurse intentionally ignored calls, as the nurse “planned that she was not going to contact” Matthews about “the results of the CT examination until the next day.”

“By then, the effects of the hematoma had continued and worsened to the point that [Mr. Matthews] was unable to walk and had lost sensation in his lower extremities,” according to the complaint.

The lawsuit accuses Rajashekar of negligence and of misdiagnosing Mr. Matthews’ condition during the “epidural injection procedure and in the post-procedure period on December 13, 2021 through December 15, 2021.”

The complaint goes on to accuse the doctor of failing to timely refer Matthews to a hospital and failing to provide “adequate supervision, instructions or coordination” with his nurse.

“Dr. Rajashekar failed to timely and properly refer the plaintiff for treatment of the spinal bleed,” reads the complaint.

Although the lawsuit does not cite where the procedure took place, according to the Florida Department of Health, Rajashekar works at the Center for Advanced Healthcare at Brownwood in The Villages.

According to court records, summons were issued to The Villages Health System, the doctor, and the nurse on Oct. 31.

The suit against Dr. Rajashekar comes less than two months after a Village of Duval woman sued The Villages Health and the doctor for allegedly “permanently injuring” her spinal nerves during a lumbar decompression procedure.

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