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Personal Injury & Medical Malpractice Blog

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

When Standard Hospital Procedures Fail

Imagine going into the hospital as a patient for one health problem, but coming out with a handful of new problems beyond your wildest nightmare.  A woman of only thirty-three years old, went into the hospital for what she thought would be a standard gynecological procedure.  She was released from the hospital with a completely changed life--her legs and the majority of her hearing was gone.  The patient has been discharged from the hospital, but is now unable to take care of herself or her 13-year-old daughter on her own. 

The woman neared death due to a puncture in her colon that occurred during a laparoscopic procedure.  The incision was not identified by doctors in time to mitigate the consequences, and thus, gangrene and poisoning of the patient’s blood resulted.  During her stay at the hospital, she experienced three cardiac arrests, skin grafts, and a colostomy.  Additionally, the antibiotics administered to control the spreading infection caused severe hearing loss. 

Both sides argued over the issue of whether the doctors were negligent in failing to identify the hole in the patient’s intestine post-procedure.  There is evidence that the patient made “complaints of pain, fever and an abnormal heart rate after the procedure.”  Despite this evidence, the opposing attorneys told the jury that the doctors were not negligent and that the alternative measures that the doctors took lead to the patient’s “remarkable recovery.”   The attorneys stated that the health consequences that the patient faced were “recognized risks,” rather than medical malpractice, and that the patient “should look on the bright side.”  Doctors also claimed that the puncture was not visible from the CT scan that was administered to the woman.

Consult your attorney to inquire whether or not you can bring a case for medical malpractice within your state.  Each state has a particular statute of limitations or time limit to bring an action, and your attorney can educate you on what applies.  There may also be a requirement to make a Notice of Claim, which also has its own time limit.  Counsel can also make a valuation as to your damages—these may include medical expenses, pain and suffering or emotional distress, or other remedial action.


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