Minnesota man, Bahamas hospital disagree over surgery allegations

UPDATE (4/1): Fox 9 obtained the medical records from the Minnesota hospital that treated Jake, and records say Jake had a "normal" appendix when he returned from Bahamas, and that Minnesota doctors removed the appendix. The records describe Jake's fascia, the tissue enclosing his organs, as "extremely beat up" and torn.

UPDATE (3/14): In a statement to Fox 9, the Bahamas hospital that treated Beiersdorf says he "was assessed and treated on arrival and later admitted to hospital for surgical intervention. At surgery the condition discovered was consistent with the preoperative diagnosis. The care provided was consistent with international standards and best practice." Local media outlets also reported the hospital did, in fact, remove Beiersdorf's appendix.

Beiersdorf told Fox 9 he stands by his statement that Minnesota doctors removed his appendix. Neither the Minnesota hospital nor the Bahamas hospital has yet to provide documentation or confirm to Fox 9 information specifically regarding Beiersdorf's appendix.

Pain. Surprise. Anger. They are the stages of horror that Jake Beiersdorf, a Bloomington man, has lived — and repeated — since a trip to the Bahamas. It began in early January 2016, when Jake went to Paradise Island to work at an annual poker tournament, as he had in previous years.

'This is not normal'

Barely into the working vacation, Jake felt excruciating pain in his lower right side, and was rushed to the nearest and largest public hospital. After waiting in pain for many hours, doctors told Jake the pain was coming from his appendix. Doctors gave Jake anesthesia, and operated. But when Jake awoke, he found an incision more than a foot long that ran vertically through the center of his body.

“I freaked out,” Jake told Fox 9. “Because they told me the entire time I was there that I would be fine, and my appendix was out.” 

Jake was also surprised by the look of the incision.

“They did like twelve stitches. And then there was an inch ago between each of them. It’s not the prettiest picture. They said this was normal. I was like ‘this is not normal.’”

'They changed my dressing in a storage closet'

Jake said doctors blamed the large incision on his appendix bursting, and them needing to “clean out" his insides. He would spend four days in the hospital, one he describes as “disgusting,” noting he was in a room with about fifteen people, and his bedding was never changed.

Following his hospital stay, Jake spent five days in his hotel room. But he would return to the hospital once again to get discharge papers and have his bandages changed.

“They changed my dressing in a storage closet. Not kidding,” Jake told Fox 9. “It was full of boxes, paperwork. He cleaned out one of the old tables that was in there for me to lay on.”

Jake’s friend got him first class air tickets to return to Minnesota, but he describes the trip as feeling like “my entire stomach was going to fall out.”

'My appendix was still inside of me.'

Back in Minnesota, Jake’s dad took him from the airport to the emergency room at Fairview Southdale. Jake said doctors operated on him to determine what happened to his body in the Bahamas. That's when they made a shocking discovery.

“They came and told me my appendix was still inside of me when they opened me up,” Jake said.

And not only that, Jake says the doctors told him his appendix was healthy. Jake says his Minnesota doctors still removed his appendix so he wouldn’t have to worry about it again. 

'They just stitched my outside.'

Jake says his Minnesota doctors told him that he had not been properly stitched in the Bahamas. Doctors here added forty staples. 

“They just stitched my outside with twelve, thirteen, stitches. Whatever it was,” Jake told Fox 9. “They mangled my muscle layer.”

'It’s been rough.'

Jake doubts he’ll return to work until May. He can barely lift anything as his stomach heals.

“I can’t lift anything. I can’t do anything. I mean showering’s a trip itself because I still have bandages on. But it’s been rough. Very rough.”

Jake changes his dressing each morning, and takes a painful shower each day. He has, until recently, been fighting infection. He still doesn’t know why his stomach was hurting in the Bahamas.

Jake told Fox 9 he could have used a private hospital in the Bahamas, but it required $5,000 to get through the doors. He recommends travelers consider traveler’s insurance.

How to help Jake

In the meantime, Jake’s also had problems getting his insurance company to cover some of his expenses. His friends established a Go Fund Me page to raise money: https://www.gofundme.com/jaketyler