Navy vet's wife sues government for malpractice

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The wife of a Jacksonville Navy veteran is suing the federal government for malpractice.

Her husband, retired Navy Chief Shon Hollis, was left in a vegetative state after a routine colonoscopy and endoscopy.

Doctors performed the procedure at Naval Hospital Jacksonville about a year ago.

Hollis' wife, Chrissy Hollis, announced the federal lawsuit in a news conference Tuesday.

DOCUMENTS: Hollis vs United States | Navy Hospital anesthesia questionnaire

Chrissy Hollis' attorney, Sean Cronin, claims care providers at Naval Hospital Jacksonville didn't review the veteran's medical records or ask questions prior to his procedure.

That, Cronin said, is what led to a series of critical mistakes.

"I said, 'He has gout. He has sleep apnea,' And as soon as I said, 'sleep apnea,' the eyes just lit up and the questions were over," Chrissy Hollis said.

By then, Shon Hollis was in a vegetative state. Chrissy Hollis said by the time the procedure was over, Shon Hollis was unable to move his body or communicate.

The lawsuit alleges that physicians didn't review Hollis' medical records, which showed a diagnosis of "obstructive sleep apnea."

Cronin said the Navy vet was at a high risk for complications when undergoing anesthesia; something doctors should have known.

"As a result of this series of failures before, during and after the procedure, Mr. Hollis went without oxygen for an extended period of time, resulting in him having this severe brain damage and permanent condition," Cronin said.

Surrounded by family photos and memories of the life they used to have together, an emotional Chrissy Hollis spoke about the kind of person her husband once was.

"Very busy, active, and that's why it's so hard, because after July of 2014, all of that was hushed," she said.

News4Jax records show about a dozen malpractice lawsuits filed against the Naval hospital in the past decade.

Chrissy Hollis said Tuesday that she wants to prevent something like this from happening to someone else.

"I need to be sure that his struggle and suffering doesn't go any further," Chrissy Hollis said. "So I need to be sure that he's OK, no matter what."

Cronin said Shon Hollis is now on Medicaid and his wife is his primary caretaker.

They'll determine later a financial cost for his long-term care.

News4Jax contacted the Naval Hospital for comment, but we have not heard back.