Retired Naval Officer in Vegetative State After Colonoscopy

When retired Navy Chief Engineman Shon Hollis entered Naval Hospital Jacksonville, Florida, on July 8, 2014, he was already talking to his wife about shopping after the routine procedure. Tragically, that was his last conversation with his wife.

As a result of the surgery, Hollis’ brain was oxygen deprived and he is no longer able to take care of himself. He now resides in a nursing home.

In 2008, Hollis was diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, a condition which can complicate any surgical procedure requiring anesthesia. According to a media report, “But a lawsuit filed July 21 in U.S. District Court in Florida, claims that the physicians performing Hollis’s colonoscopy were unaware of his condition — even though he’d been diagnosed with apnea at Naval Hospital Jacksonville and was monitored for it by physicians there.

The suit claims that the anesthesiologist, Navy Cmdr. John Weatherwax — mistakenly referred to in the suit as John Weathermax — failed to take the proper precautions, such as protecting Hollis’s airway, which caused his oxygen levels to drop and sent him into cardiac arrest.”

Naval Hospital Jacksonville’s patient safety history is checkered; it was the target of at least 26 malpractice suits, including 15 wrongful death lawsuits, in the early to mid-2000’s.