Shoemaker’s Surgeon Is Criticized at Trial


An expert witness, testifying in court Thursday on behalf of Bill Shoemaker, was critical of the surgeon who operated on Shoemaker the night of his near-fatal accident.

John Wilson, who has been in private practice as a general surgeon for 41 years, said that Dr. Alfonso Miguel erred in operating on Shoemaker after his vehicle went off a highway in San Dimas six years ago. Shoemaker, a champion jockey who recently had begun a career as a trainer, suffered a broken neck and is suing Glendora Community Hospital and seven doctors, claiming their neglect turned him into a quadriplegic.

Wilson, who estimated that he has been a malpractice witness in about 100 cases in the last 10 years, said in Los Angeles County Superior Court that Shoemaker’s internal bleeding was not enough to justify surgery.

Steve Van Sicklen, who represents the 60-year-old Miguel, held up a soft-drink can in front of the jury on Tuesday and said that Shoemaker’s abdominal bleeding would have filled 1 1/2 cans.


Van Sicklen, who said that Shoemaker’s injuries were life-threatening, is expected to cross-examine Wilson on Monday.

Before Wilson’s appearance, defense attorneys chipped away at testimony given Wednesday by Pete Morales Jr., a fire department paramedic who said that Shoemaker was given cardiopulmonary resuscitation at the hospital even though he appeared to be conscious. On Thursday, Morales said that he hadn’t seen CPR being done. He also said that there were differences between his testimony this week and the deposition that he gave four years ago.