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Football: Weis’ malpractice case set to begin Feb. 12

Joe Meixell | Thursday, January 25, 2007

Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis’ lawsuit against the two doctors who performed his gastric bypass weight-loss surgery in 2002 has been scheduled to begin in court Feb. 12.

Brian Hardin, director of football media relations, said Weis was recruiting away from campus and unavailable for comment Wednesday. Hardin said Weis likely would not comment on the lawsuit in the future.

In the days following the surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital, Weis suffered from internal bleeding. He went in for a second surgery and fell into a coma for two weeks.

In the lawsuit, Weis alleges that physicians Charles M. Ferguson and Richard A. Hodin failed to meet the proper standard of care. The Boston Globe reported that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who Weis has said was a frequent guest at his house and help with his kids after the surgery, will be a key witness in the case.

Weis’ lawsuit claims that as a result of the surgery, Weis suffers from limited movement in his legs and feet and continues to experience significant pain.

Weis has said repeatedly in the past that his father’s death from a heart attack at age 56 was a primary factor in his decision to have the high-risk surgery.

“You want to know why you do it? Because for 10 years you’re over 300 pounds and your father died at 56 of a second heart attack,” Weis said at the press conference introducing him as Notre Dame’s coach in 2004. “You’re afraid if you stay at the same level, you’re going to drop dead. That’s why you do it. It has nothing to with getting jobs. That’s what everyone else says because they want to put words in your mouth. The bottom line is when you’re unhealthy, you’re unhealthy, do you something about it.”

In his autobiography, No Excuses, however, Weis had a less confrontational tone.

“I said, ‘Look at that fat ass,’ ” Weis wrote in No Excuses. “I wish I had been looking at someone else. Unfortunately, that fat ass was me.”

Weis has insisted that the surgery was not an attempt to increase his chance at getting a head coaching job. At the time of the surgery, Weis was considered one of the top offensive coordinators in the NFL but weighed around 350 pounds.

Weis’ case is going to trial more than two years after a Massachusetts review board decided he had enough evidence to go forward with the lawsuit.