Removing a kidney instead of a gall bladder ended nine months during which Dr. Gregg Shore of Sebring also started an unnecessary surgery and played a role in three patient deaths, state complaints say.
Shore’s license status, as of Sunday, according to the Florida Department of Health: “Clear/Active.”
The second of two administrative complaints — the Department of Health filings that start the discipline process — against Shore was filed Aug. 28 and included allegations about four patients from Aug. 13, 2020, through May 18, 2021. A complaint filed in August 2022 concerned the death of one of his patients on Sept. 18, 2020.
Civil lawsuits accusing Shore of malpractice are pending in the Hillsborough County court system. Shore’s online license information says his part of the lawsuit that followed the September 2020 death of a 35-year-old woman was settled for $250,000.
His license information also says Shore has been licensed in Florida since Aug. 25, 2004. Before these complaints, he had no history of disciplinary action. The American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery said Shore has been board- certified since 2003.
Though his license’s address of record is Sebring’s Florida Lakes Surgical Center, he is no longer listed on their website and a receptionist said Shore no longer works there.
Shore is representing himself in at least one of his lawsuits. Reached by an email address he gave to the court, Shore responded to a Miami Herald reporter’s questions: “Who are you? What gives you the authority to email me without my approval?”
The cases in the complaints:
Is that a gall bladder?
According to the administrative complaint, on May 15, 2021, a woman came into the HCA Florida Highlands Hospital emergency room with pain in her abdomen. The next day, Shore diagnosed “acute cholecystitus/cholelithiasis.” According to Johns Hopkins and the Cleveland Clinic, that’s a medical term for swelling of the gall bladder with gallstones.
Shore scheduled a gall bladder removal for May 17.
“[Shore] documented performing a cholecystectomy to remove the patient’s gall bladder,” the complaint said. “On May 18, 2021, a pathology report for a specimen obtained from the cholecystectomy was noted to be a kidney and not a gall bladder.
“[Shore] performed a right nephrectomy and removed the patient’s kidney instead of her gall bladder during the May 17, 2021 surgery.”
Did the patient already have one of those?
As explained by Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, a mediport, or an implanted port, “is a type of central venous catheter. A CVC is a flexible tube that’s put into one of your veins.
“You may need to get medication in a vein larger than the ones in your arms. Your port lets the medication go into your bloodstream through your vein. It can be used to give you medication for several days in a row.”
On April 8, 2021, the complaint said, Shore rolled a man into surgery to place a right side mediport.
“During the procedure, it was discovered that the patient had a mediport previously placed in the left chest wall,” the complaint said. “The procedure was aborted.
“[Shore] failed to recognize that the patient already had a mediport in the left chest wall during the physical examination prior to surgery.”
That oversight aside, the complaint said the violation was that Shore “performed a medically unnecessary surgery.”
The complaint said Shore’s operative report for a Dec. 6, 2020, surgery to repair a patient’s hernia said the abdomen was “markedly distended.” Shore put a trocar in the space between the organs and the membrane lining the abdomen and pelvis.
“While placing the trocar, [Shore] perforated” the patient’s’ small bowel, the complaint said.
The complaint said Shore’s operative report explained he halted the hernia repair because there was a risk of infection to the mesh implant.
A 2022 article in the Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery describes a mesh infection as “a highly morbid complication after hernia surgery, and is associated with hospital re-admission, increased health care costs, re-operation, hernia recurrence, impaired quality of life and plaintiff litigation.”
Shore, the complaint said, didn’t repair the hernia. The patient became septic and went into cardiac arrest.
“Sepsis happens when an infection you already have triggers a chain reaction throughout your body,” the U.S. Centers for Disease Control says. “Most cases of sepsis start before a patient goes to the hospital.”
The patient was revived on Dec. 6 and, the complaint says, Shore went in on Dec. 8, 2020, to repair the bowel perforation. Shore documented bowel changes. The patient died later that day.
The complaint said Shore should have tried to repair the hernia “with no mesh, biological mesh or absorbable mesh” and shouldn’t have used an optiview trocar when the patient’s abdomen was distended.
She went in for a gall bladder removal. She never woke up
The complaint filed in August 2022 said, on Sept. 18, 2020, Shore performed a elective gall bladder removal on a 35-year-old woman with chronic gall bladder swelling and gallstones.
During the removal, the complaint said, Shore had a hard time removing the gall bladder and documented a tear involving a liver lobe “leading to significant bleeding.” The complaint said the patient lost 500 ml of blood by the time the bleeding stopped.
After the surgery, the woman went to the post-anesthesia care unit with a blood pressure of 68/38 and a hemoglobin measure that pointed to a low fluid levels. Three to four hours of blood transfusions and living on life support couldn’t prevent her from dying at 9:35 p.m.
The complaint said Shore should have bought her back into the operating room for an abdominal cavity surgery “to locate the source of continued bleeding or perform damage control.”
Also, the complaint said, Shore didn’t get help from a vascular surgeon.
This is the case that Shore’s profile says was settled in April 2022 for $250,000, which came from his wallet, none from insurance. State records say Norcal Insurance paid the patient’s estate $250,000 for advanced practice registered nurse Michael Hernicz and another $250,000 for Dr. Mogin Antoine, whose official address with the Department of Health is now in North Miami. The woman’s estate got $3 million from Health Care Indemnity, insurer for what’s now HCA Florida Highlands Hospital.
Blood and infections
On Aug. 10, 2020, a complaint said, a patient came into an emergency room “with complaints of fever, chills, cough and shortness of breath.” Also, the patient had a 2 centimeter gallstone, “evidence of sludge,” and was considered to be septic.
Shore evaluated the patient on Aug. 11 and scheduled a gall bladder removal with in-surgery X-ray of bile ducts for the morning of Aug. 12.
“During the procedure, [Shore] documented active bleeding at the liver bed and placed a drain,” the complaint said. “[Shore] failed to control the bleeding or achieve hemostasis. [Shore] failed to document achieving hemostasis or his attempts to control the bleeding.”
“Hemostasis,” the Cleveland Clinic says, is a normal bodily reaction that stops bleeding.
The complaint said the patient had “profuse amounts of blood coming from the drain” and lost his pulse. The patient died Aug. 13.
The complaint faulted Shore for not controlling the bleeding or getting the patient into surgery faster “due to the severity of his condition.”