Bobby Jenks worked his ass off to finally make it to stardom in MLB. He could have called it quits at any time during his minor league career in the Angels organization between 2000-04, when he spent several time sidelined with elbow injuries. Yet, he made it and was awesome in the biggest spotlight of the sport, winning a title with the White Sox in 2005, closing Game 4 of that World Series against the Astros. That came after the Angels DFA’d him in 2004.
Jenks followed his rookie year that concluded with a World Series ring, saving 81 games the next two years. He was an All-Star in 2006 and 2007, and finished his White Sox career with 173 saves. Not bad after getting released by the team that drafted you.
As cool as Jenks story to the big leagues was, he also has a terrifying story about the time he almost died following a botched surgery.
After six years with the White Sox, Jenks signed a two-year deal with the Red Sox prior to the start of the 2011 season. Unfortunately, Jenks landed on the DL three times in 2011, and only pitched in 19 games, posting a 6.32 ERA in 15.2 innings.
In the middle of September, Boston diagnosed Jenks with a pulmonary embolism.
Then in December of 2011, Jenks had surgery to remove bone spurs from his back. That’s when one mistake almost became fatal for the hard-throwing pitcher.
When Bobby Jenks went under the knife on Dec. 12 in Boston, the reliever was scheduled to have two of four bone spurs removed. Unbeknownst to Jenks, the surgeon botched the procedure by starting –– and then not finishing –– a third bone spur.
As the Red Sox hurler began his recovery phase, he noticed spinal fluid leaking from the surgical incision. Then, after a week, he experienced throbbing headaches. At that point, Jenks grew worried. “The pain was just excruciating,” Jenks said Thursday. “I woke up in the middle of the night like literally someone hit me with a sledgehammer. I can’t explain it, other than like 10 times worse than any migraine I’ve ever had.”
It called for an emergency surgery on Dec. 28 in Scottsdale, Ariz. Although Jenks’ back was still sensitive from the previous procedure, he was forced to go under the knife immediately or the ramifications could’ve been fatal.
“If I didn’t have it done immediately, the infection could have gotten into my spinal fluid and up to my brain and who knows what happens then,” Jenks said. “Obviously I could not be here right now.”
Due to the short span between surgeries, the 30-year-old admitted his muscles were “torn open”, which left him bed-ridden for a few weeks.
Bobby Jenks never pitched in a MLB game ever again.
Dr. Kirkham Wood, who performed the surgery on Jenks, was sued by three patients, including the former pitcher. The Boston Globe first uncovered the lawsuits in 2015.
Via Mass Live.
In a three-part series released on Sunday, the Boston Globe spotlight team investigated a surgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital being sued for concurrent surgeries on patients, one of whom was former Red Sox reliever Bobby Jenks. In the extensive piece, Dr. Kirkham Wood is being sued by three patients, including Jenks, for performing surgery on two patients at the same time. According to the article, the practice is not uncommon at top hospitals with expert, high-demand surgeons, but one of the patients suing Wood was left paralyzed.
In March 2012, three months after the botched surgery, Jenks was arrested for a DUI, property damage and a hit-and-run.
Jenks ended up needing three back surgeries, became addicted to pain medication and slipped into depression and alcoholism. The Globe reports Jenks is suing Wood for a botched double surgery in December 2011 that he believes ended his career. The Globe also makes note that Red Sox principal owner and Boston Globe owner John Henry was a Mass. General Hospital trustee from 2005 to 2014.
There have been no updates on Jenks’ lawsuit.