Sports Stars Making A Social Impact: “How MLB All-Star Bobby Jenks is helping victims of medical malpractice”

One of my favorites is from Abraham Lincoln; “Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds to be.” If you let people or events control how you feel or think you will never know who you really are”. Bobby Jenks is a former Major League Baseball pitcher who played for the Chicago […]

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One of my favorites is from Abraham Lincoln; “Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds to be.” If you let people or events control how you feel or think you will never know who you really are”.

Bobby Jenks is a former Major League Baseball pitcher who played for the Chicago White Sox and Boston Red Sox from 2005–2011. He was a two-time All-Star who formerly held the major league record for retiring consecutive batters. Jenks was drafted by the Anaheim Angels in the 5th round of the 2000 MLB draft and went to play in with the minor league team. It was during that time a radar gun clocked his fastball at 100 mph. At the beginning of 2005, he was claimed by the Chicago White Sox and sent to the club’s Double-A affiliate before being called up to the major leagues on July 5, 2005. That year, the White Sox made it to the World Series and Jenks pitched in each of the Series’ four games. The White Sox won in four straight games over the Houston Astros with Jenks throwing the series’ final pitch. After the 2010 season, Jenks signed a two-year contract with the Boston Red Sox, however, he struggled for much of 2011 with injuries, going on the disabled list three times during the season. On September 14, 2011, the Red Sox announced that Jenks had been diagnosed with a pulmonary embolism.

But it was the surgery on December 12, 2011, that changed his life forever. Jenks was scheduled to have two bone spurs removed from his back at Massachusetts General Hospital. However, the doctor, which was head of the hospital’s orthopedic bone unit, started to remove a third bone spur but didn’t finish. This allegedly created a serrated edge that later sliced Jenk’s back open causing him to leak spinal fluid. He was forced to undergo emergency surgery and due to his muscles being “torn open,” Jenks was bedridden for seven weeks. The Red Sox placed Jenks on the 60-day disabled list and ruled him out for at least the first three months of the 2012 season.

On July 3, 2012, Jenks was released by the Red Sox and filed a lawsuit for malpractice after learning that the doctor was conducting a concurrent surgery by operating on a second patient at the same time as his operation. However, he had no idea, nor gave any consent. Now, with a lawsuit in place, he was unable to discuss the situation….or the reason he had to leave the game of baseball.

In May 2019, Jenks reached a settlement with the hospital and the doctor for $5.1 million, however, upon learning of the many patients who additionally suffered at the hands of the same doctor, and the lack of “informed consent” by surgeons performing multiple procedures…..he has made it his mission to raise awareness for this issue and the need for a law to be in place to protect patients. He shares his story in hopes of protecting the next person who is having surgery.

Thank you for joining us Bobby! Can you share with us the “backstory” that led you to your career path in professional sports?

Baseball was the only thing I ever wanted to do. From as early as I can remember I wanted to play ball.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your career? What were the lessons or takeaways that you took out of that story?

One of the most interesting things occurred in 2004. I was a starter with the Angels and suffered a stress fracture in my right elbow and had to undergo surgery. During that offseason I was picked up by the White Sox, thinking my career was over by being

put in the bullpen, where starters go to die, little did I know that it was the beginning of my career.

What would you advise to a young person who wants to emulate your success?

To find what it is that they struggle with the most and to work harder on it. To stay driven and to never stop working hard. When you think you have made it, work harder.

Is there a person that made a profound impact on your life? Can you share a story?

There were so many during my career to name just one but more recent is when I met my now wife, Eleni Tzitzivacos, she is the love of my life and the foundation of what keeps me grounded and focused.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world? Can you share with us the meaningful or exciting causes you are working on right now?

During the time I was playing baseball I worked a lot with kids in underprivileged areas helping them obtain new equipment, travel, coaching, motivation and things like that.

Currently, I’m working on starting a nonprofit to help victims of medical malpractice. Having the experience of how difficult and long the process is I want to be able to help and support victims and their families.

What methods are you using to most effectively share your cause with the world?

As of right now, it is still very early in the process, but with TV, radio, newspaper and the interviews that I’ve done so raising awareness have been a great start. With lots more to come.

Can you share with us the story behind why you chose to take up this particular cause?

Well, I suffered a career-ending surgery. It was caused by a practice known as concurrent surgery. This practice is when one doctor oversees and performs two surgeries simultaneously. This led to my surgery being rushed, neglected and life-threatening.

Can you share with us a story about a person who was impacted by your cause?

Without mentioning any names, after I had won my case, I received numerous phone calls from others who had also experienced medical malpractice. Unfortunately, the majority of the victims were not able to pursue their cases due to financial and emotional distress. Those that did, they too experienced financial and emotional distress. The nonprofit’s goal is to be able to support and provide financial aid to victims and their families.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

That our hospitals and doctors become transparent and take full responsibility in ensuring that the health and safety of patients it’s their top priority. Not financial incentives.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you explain how that was relevant in your life?

Yes, one of my favorites is Abraham Lincoln “folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds to be.” If you let people or events control how you feel or think you will never know who you really are”.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

As a huge golf fan and golfer, Jason Day would be my person of choice. He has a great personality, a strong work ethic and a dedication to the sport that’s relatable. I would also love to pick his brain to gain a few golfing tips.

How can our readers follow you online?

Right now On Instagram @Jenks. Bobby.

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