Last fall former Cowboys running back Ron Springs appeared to have pulled off a medical miracle. In February 2007 Springs, 51, who suffers from diabetes and had waited on a kidney transplant list for three years, received a kidney donated by ex-teammate Everson Walls. Eight months later Springs was planning to travel with Walls to raise diabetes awareness. As Dallas-based medical malpractice lawyer Les Weisbrod says, Springs "was on the road to a productive life."
That changed in October, when Springs had a small, benign cyst removed from his left arm. The supposedly routine procedure left Springs in a coma, and in January his wife, Adriane, and Weisbrod filed a malpractice suit. They allege that a botched intubation by an anesthesiologist at Dallas's Medical City Hospital cut off Springs's airflow and caused brain damage.
Under Texas law, pain and suffering malpractice damages are capped at $250,000—which Weisbrod says won't cover the cost of taking care of Springs. Last week Springs joined 10 other plaintiffs in a class-action suit challenging the cap law as unconstitutional. If the suits are successful, Springs is unlikely to enjoy the benefits. Doctors say he has a long life expectancy but, according to Weisbrod, "is unlikely to ever come out of his coma."
TONY GUTIERREZ/AP (SPRINGS AND WALLS)
BONDED Springs (right) and Walls saw the 'Boys last fall.