Ex-Portland Timbers GK Jake Gleeson files malpractice lawsuit against team doctors

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Former Portland Timbers goalkeeper Jake Gleeson is seeking over $10 million in economic and noneconomic damages in a medical malpractice lawsuit he filed against two of the club's team doctors Monday.

The lawsuit, filed in Oregon Circuit Court through his attorneys, cites Richard H. Edelson and Jonathan E. Greenleaf. Also named as defendants are Sports Medicine Oregon as well as Oregon Outpatient Surgery Center. The Timbers were not named as defendants in the suit.

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In the court filing, a copy of which has been obtained by ESPN, the suit alleges in part that the defendants were negligent in using plates that weren't properly sterilized before an August 2018 surgery that inserted them into Gleeson's shins. It also contends that there was a "breach of sterility" at Oregon Outpatient Surgery Center that wasn't disclosed to Gleeson. It also alleges that the doctors selected "aggressive and risky procedures" for Gleeson without trying more conservative therapies first. And lastly, it asserts that there was "no clear orthopedic necessity to implant the devices."

In an interview with ESPN, the 30-year-old, who is now retired, said the doctors named in the suit "took my life, took my livelihood, and what I dedicated my life to do, and kind of just left me there to pick up the pieces. It's been absolutely crippling, devastating. I wouldn't wish the last two years of my life on anyone."

The Timbers and Sports Medicine Oregon didn't respond to a request for comment.

Gleeson suffered stress fractures in both tibias in the summer of 2018. The Timbers' team doctors recommended that metal plates be inserted into both shins.

But in mid-September, Gleeson developed an infection in his right leg. He underwent another surgery that was supposed to remove the plate in that leg, only for the doctors to opt to leave it in. With the infection recurring, the decision was made a week later to remove the plate in his right leg, but then an infection in his left leg developed. That plate was removed as well.

After seeking new doctors, Gleeson was diagnosed with necrosis and osteomyelitis in both of his shins, which meant that portions of the bone became infected and died.

Gleeson, a former New Zealand international, joined the Timbers youth setup in 2010. He made 67 appearances in all competitions for Portland and helped the club to an MLS Cup title in 2015.