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Las Vegas man gets $1.95M after country club snack leads to surgery

Updated September 7, 2017 - 1:26 am

A Clark County jury awarded a 70-year-old man nearly $2 million this month after a snack at a Las Vegas country club landed him in emergency surgery.

Ronald Wood has been a member of Canyon Gate Country Club, situated near Sahara Avenue and Durango Drive, for more than 20 years, his attorney, Dennis Prince, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Wednesday.

In 2014, Wood was attending a regular member-guest golf tournament and cocktail party when he ate a few bacon-wrapped scallops. He hadn’t noticed anything wrong until his wife bit into one too, then carefully pulled a broken toothpick from her mouth.

Concerned, Wood approached the club’s management to let them know about the toothpick. His attorney said management largely dismissed the complaint.

So Wood went about his evening, mostly forgetting about the incident until, several days later, he was hospitalized for extreme abdominal pain. Tests revealed his large intestine had ruptured and his discomfort stemmed from a massive infection.

It wasn’t until a doctor began “poking around,” Wood’s lawyer said, that the surgeon found “an inch-long broken toothpick” in Wood’s abdominal cavity.

In total, a foot of Wood’s colon was removed, along with his gall bladder. He was also treated for a serious liver infection.

“Three weeks later, he left with a colostomy bag, and went home with a catheter,” Wood’s attorney, Prince, said.

Wood, who was 67 at the time, has had at least three more surgeries to fight infections.

“He’s mostly OK,” Prince said. “The problem is, you don’t fully recover after something like that. He’s not as physically active or strong. He doesn’t have as much stamina.”

Throughout the case, Wood hoped to remain a member of the country club.

“Most of those people are all of retirement age. They travel together. They’ve raised kids together. They’re involved in each other’s lives,” Prince said. “If he was no longer a member, that would almost be a double penalty.”

Prince said the main argument in the case was not about who was at fault, but rather the food itself.

“People have the right to expect their food to be safe,” he said. “You don’t have to inspect it. That’s one of the responsibilities of the establishment — to ensure its safety.”

Wood was awarded $1.95 million by the jury. A lawyer for the country club was not available for comment Wednesday afternoon.

Contact Rachel Crosby at rcrosby@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-8135. Follow @rachelacrosby on Twitter.

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