Aurora woman sues Sky Ridge neurosurgeon, says she was talked into surgery she didn’t need

Problem Solvers

DENVER (KDVR) — Pictures tell the story of how Elizabeth Calkins’ life has been upended.

The 40-year-old was once a competitive body builder, always on the move.

However, she’s now a shell of her former self. Just two muscles currently hold up Calkins’ neck, supported by pins, screws and a metal plate.

“You can feel the hardware,” Calkins explained, touching the skin on her neck.

Calkins says it is all evidence of multiple surgeries gone terribly wrong.

“It’s constant, never-ending pain. I can’t do regular daily activities everyone should be able to do and that’s something at my age someone shouldn’t have to worry about,” she said.

To learn what happened to Calkins, you have to turn back the calendar to 2015.

Calkins visited Dr. Lloyd Mobley at Sky Ridge Medical Center, and after several visits was diagnosed with a degenerative disc in her spine and was recommended for surgery.

The surgery didn’t work, and Calkins says she came out of it feeling much worse.

“The pain was nerve pain. It was shooting down my arm. It was like your arm was on fire,” she said.

Forty-eight hours later she was back in the operating room undergoing a second surgery. However, she says Mobley didn’t fix the problem. Calkins ended up in his operating room four times over three years.

“I have issues because of the fact they had to use some of my back muscles to cover my spine that was almost coming through my skin. Leaning against anything hurts. Leaning against my pillow hurts,” she said.

Calkins eventually left Mobley and Sky Ridge Medical Center and got an opinion from another surgeon who told her she didn’t have a degenerative disc.

“The surgeries were never necessary in the beginning. It was never a problem to be fixed surgically,” she said.

However, Calkins says what she has learned in the months since is even more troubling.

It turns out, Mobley has a history of questionable operating room behavior.

According to disciplinary records obtained by the FOX31 Problem Solvers, Mobley was reprimanded and temporarily placed on probation for making and receiving phone calls while operating on a patient in 2007 who ended up paralyzed after surgery.

Mobley’s behavior was characterized as “unprofessional conduct.”

According to the civil complaint filed by Calkins’ lawyers, in 2008, colleagues in the operating room also reported that Mobley used a laparoscopic camera display monitor to watch “The 40-year-old Virgin’ while performing neurosurgery on a patient.

Mobley continues to operate at Sky Ridge Medical Center. The hospital declined the Problem Solvers’ request for an on-camera interview, but provided this statement:

“The well-being of our patients is and always will be one of our priorities. Like all hospitals, we respect and honor the patient/physician relationship and are not involved in those decisions, particularly as they relate to surgery or any procedure.  As we do with any issue that is brought to our attention, our medical staff leadership took timely and appropriate steps, fully cooperated with DORA recommendations and acted in good faith on behalf of our patients and our entire medical staff.”

The hospital also tells the Problem Solvers that while the surgery took place at Sky Ridge Medical Center, Dr. Mobley was a private physician. He is currently employed by NeurosurgeryONE, a Century Health Clinic.

The Problem Solvers also reached out to Mobley’s attorney.

That attorney, Bruce Montoya, also declined an on-camera interview but said, “The allegations in 2007/2008 don’t have any relevance to the current filing.”

Regarding the current lawsuit, Montoya also provided the FOX31 Problem Solvers this statement:

“Dr. Mobley is an outstanding surgeon and has been providing exceptional care to his patients in Colorado for the last eighteen years. While Ms. Calkins is entitled to make allegations in a complaint, Dr. Mobley, and the other named healthcare providers, have a right to defend themselves against those allegations. Dr. Mobley’s involvement in the treatment of Ms. Calkins was at all times reasonable, appropriate, and within accepted standards of care for a neurosurgeon. Dr. Mobley is in good standing with the Colorado Medical Board and all of the medical facilities at which he practices. We look forward to our opportunity to present his defense in front of a jury of his peers.

However, Calkins disagrees. She says she wishes she could turn back the clock.

“I not only trusted somebody, I trusted him with my life and now my life is forever changed,” she said.

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