Wrestling star Terry Bollea, better known by his stage name Hulk Hogan, has filed a medical malpractice action seeking damages against a Tampa, Fla.-based spine institute, a high-volume surgery center, and several of its owner physicians.
Hogan alleges that between February 2009 and August 2010, he underwent multiple unnecessary endoscopic surgical procedures that destabilized his previously injured back and significantly damaged his entertainment and athletic career. The lawsuit alleges a loss of past and future earnings in excess of $50 million.
According to the lawsuit, traditional spinal surgery had been recommended to Hogan by numerous prominent spine surgeons to enable him to continue his athletic career. Hogan alleges that he was repeatedly told by the institute’s physicians that traditional spinal surgery that he was scheduled for would in fact end his career, and that their “minimally invasive” alternatives to traditional surgery would enable him to continue.
Hogan maintains that he underwent six procedures in 19 months, and only experienced short-term relief for two to three weeks following each procedure. He alleges that the temporary relief was caused by the surgery center’s physicians using a laser to burn nerves, which eventually regenerated, causing pain again.
According to the lawsuit, Hogan first became aware that he may have been a victim of medically unnecessary surgery after reading a Bloomberg News article detailing complaints about the surgery center, including that the treatments are expensive and ineffective. Following his failed procedures at the surgery center, Hogan had traditional spine fusion surgery, and was able to return to his professional activities three months after the surgery. Hogan also alleges that the surgery center used his name and likeness in marketing materials without his permission.