Ex-Red Sox RP Bobby Jenks Settles Suit over Career-Ending Back Surgery for $5.1M

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorMay 9, 2019

HOUSTON - JULY 02:  Pitcher Bobby Jenks #52 throws in the eighth inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on July 2, 2011 in Houston, Texas. Boston won 10-4. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Bob Levey/Getty Images

Former Chicago White Sox and Boston Red Sox pitcher Bobby Jenks will receive $5.1 million in an out-of-court settlement to resolve a medical malpractice lawsuit against Massachusetts General Hospital and Dr. Kirkham Wood, per Jonathan Saltzman of the Boston Globe.

Dr. Wood performed spinal decompression surgery on Jenks in December 2011. However, Saltzman reported that Dr. Wood operated on Jenks while overseeing another procedure at the same time. The practice is known as "concurrent surgery."

Jenks suffered complications after the surgery and never pitched in the big leagues again.

Per Saltzman, "Jenks felt what he said seemed like a cup of water spurt from the surgical wound in his back at home in Mesa, Arizona. Then he had an excruciating headache. It turned out that he had suffered a tear in the dural sac that covers the spine and leaked spinal fluid."

Saltzman reported that "lawyers for Wood and MGH said that a dural tear was a known risk of the surgery and that Jenks failed to follow hospital discharge instructions by immediately calling Wood." The defense lawyers also said Dr. Wood didn't enter the other patient's operating room until Jenks' surgery was finished.

After the procedure, Jenkins underwent three more back surgeries and became addicted to pain medication, per Jen McCaffrey of MassLive. He also suffered from depression and alcoholism.

Jenks hopes his story at least raises awareness for the concurrent surgery practice.

"I want this to be spread everywhere and known by everybody," he told Saltzman. "What they practiced at the hospital was unsafe and should not be done anywhere."

Jenks, 38, was one of MLB's best closers at his best. He had a 2.75 ERA in 32 games for the 2005 World Series champion White Sox and saved 173 games for the franchise from 2005 to 2010. Injuries curtailed a promising career, and he closed his MLB stint with a 6.32 ERA in 19 games for the 2011 Red Sox.


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