Wife of ex-Cowboys star Springs sues after husband slips into coma

DALLAS -- The wife of former Dallas Cowboys running back Ron Springs is suing two doctors she accuses of letting her husband slip into a coma last October, just months after a new kidney donated by ex-teammate Everson Walls appeared to save his life.

The medical malpractice lawsuit filed Tuesday in state district court by Adriane Springs seeks unspecified damages and describes Springs as being non-responsive and incapacitated.

Adriane Springs said her husband has brain damage and didn't know if he would recover.

"My husband was doing so well after the kidney transplant," she said. "This is just a very tragic outcome."

Named in the suit are Dr. Joyce Abraham, Dr. David Godat and the Texas Anesthesia Group. They could not immediately be reached for comment.

Adriane Springs announced the lawsuit in the Dallas courthouse alongside Walls and her son, Shawn Springs, a cornerback for the Washington Redskins.

Adriane Springs said her husband is able to open his eyes and breathe on his own, but has little movement and cannot speak.

Ron Springs appeared to have been improving after the February kidney transplant, the first between two former U.S. professional athletes. Springs suffered from Type 2 diabetes, which forced the amputation of his right foot.

"The lawsuit is extremely justified," Walls said. "If you would have seen Ron the night before surgery, you would have been pretty impressed."

Springs, 51, underwent surgery again Oct. 12 to remove a 2-centimeter cyst on his left arm, a procedure that relatives believed would be routine.

But the lawsuit alleges that Springs began having difficulty breathing as he received anesthesia, and that doctors used drugs to induce him into a paralyzed state in order to insert a breathing tube. The intubation failed and Springs went into cardiopulmonary arrest before being resuscitated, according to the suit.

Springs does not respond to verbal commands, the suit said, and is in a "persistent mentally and physically incapacitated state due to severe anoxic brain injury."

Les Weisbrod, Springs' attorney, said the coma had nothing to do with the kidney transplant.

Springs played eight seasons in the NFL -- six with the Cowboys and two in Tampa Bay -- before retiring after the 1986 season. In the four seasons Springs and Walls played together in Dallas, the two forged a strong friendship.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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