Airman Colton Read Lost Legs Not Gallbladder

Colton Read and Laproscopic gallbladder surgery

Colton Read, 20, is a Texas Airman stationed near Sacramento, California. This past week he lost his legs not his gallbladder when a laproscopic gallbladder surgery went horribly wrong.

During Read’s “routine” laproscopic surgery last week at David Grant Medical Center at Travis Air Force Base to remove his gallbladder, the general surgeon reportedly nicked his aortic artery. The artery was repaired and his life saved. He was transferred to UC Davis later in the day where he could be taken care of by a vascular surgeon.

The aortic artery is the main artery from the heart to the body. Laproscopic surgery is a minimally invasive procedure that involves making a tiny incision to minimize pain and speed recovery time.


The injury to the aortic artery and the blood loss have led to the amputation of Read’s legs. He still has his gallbladder.

Lt. Holly Hess, chief of public affairs at Travis Air Force Base said in a statement, "We are conducting an exhaustive review with experts from outside David Grant Medical Center, as well as an internal investigation with the goal of ensuring patient safety and quality care at the center."

Read’s wife, Jessica, reports that the doctor admitted it was human error. The hospital and surgeon are protected from lawsuit by an old federal law called the Feres Doctrine. Reed is likely to be placed on medical retirement which will mean receiving less than half his $1600 monthly salary. For now he remains in the hospital at UC Davis.

Baylor Medical Center (information on laproscopic surgery)


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