August 8, 2016

Surgery Mistake Caused Serious Injury, Led to Lawsuit

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by Levin & Perconti

We trust that when we have surgery the doctor will take all the necessary steps to prevent us from further injury or harm. However, that is not always the case. A malpractice lawsuit was filed in Cook County alleging negligence during surgery caused serious injuries. The lawsuit states that the man underwent a surgical procedure during which a clip was not removed. The lawsuit seeks damages of more than $50,000 as well as legal costs.

Medical Mistakes

According to the CDC, Centers for Disease Control, medical mistakes are now the third most common cause of death in the United States. As medical patients, we assume that the doctor knows what to do and is careful not to make any mistakes. Yet thousands of people are injured or die every year because of medical errors. Medical mistakes consist of many types of errors including such things as misdiagnosis, pharmacy errors, medication dosage problems, failure to diagnose, and surgical mistakes.

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July 31, 2016

Hospital Found Negligent In Woman’s Death

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by Levin & Perconti

When we enter the hospital we trust that the doctors and other professionals will provide us with the proper medical care and treatment we need. Sometimes, however, the hospital is negligent in providing the care necessary. This was the situation for a 41-year-old patient who died after the hospital failed to properly resuscitate her after she suffered cardiac arrest during a biopsy procedure. Mount Sinai Hospital was ordered to pay $8 million to the woman’s son as the result of a jury decision after a malpractice lawsuit.

Admitted to Hospital

The woman in this case was admitted to the hospital with various symptoms including chronic cellulitis in her leg, diabetes, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. The woman was being evaluated and while staying in the hospital she developed pneumonia along with shortness of breath. While the original symptoms had subsided for a period of time, they reappeared. The woman began having some breathing issues related to her lungs. The doctors recommended an elective esophagogastroduodenoscopy, called an EGD.

Procedure Gone Wrong

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July 14, 2016

Improper Use of MRI Machine Led to Serious Injuries

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by Levin & Perconti

The use of diagnostic and testing equipment is a necessary part of the diagnosis and treatment of many medical conditions. When we go to a medical facility for tests we expect that the employees will keep us safe from harm and will take precautions to make sure to properly operate the equipment. A recent lawsuit filed in Cook County indicates that a woman was injured during an MRI procedure. The lawsuit is requesting a jury trial and damages in excess of $50,000.

MRI

An MRI, magnetic resonance imaging, is a medical test that utilizes magnetic pulses along with radio wave energy to view the internal organs and other areas of the body. An MRI is a special piece of equipment that has specific requirements. The MRI is different from a CT scan. During an MRI, the patient’s body passes into a unit where it must remain still for a period of time while the testing is done. The woman states that the machine was not operated properly and that the MRI machine was not of an adequate size. As a result, the woman suffered physical injuries to the left side of her body.

Negligent Care

The medical personnel that operate MRI machines must be properly trained in the use of the equipment. MRIs may be either open or closed. The closed type may have been utilized in this case. The equipment may not have been the right size to accommodate the woman, or she could have been improperly positioned on the table. Whatever the reason, the woman sustained injuries because of the negligent care provided. The medical professionals should have been more careful and should have noticed that the woman was not aligned to fit into the machine.

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July 13, 2016

Surgical Mistake During Hysterectomy Caused Injuries

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by Levin & Perconti

When you enter the hospital for routine surgery, you expect that the doctor and medical staff will do everything necessary to keep you from harm. You also trust that your original medical issue will be correctly resolved. That wasn’t the case for one woman who recently filed a lawsuit. According to the lawsuit, the woman suffered serious and permanent injuries from skin burns that occurred while she was undergoing an abdominal hysterectomy. The medical malpractice lawsuit claims the doctor is responsible for failing to provide proper medical care which caused her injuries.

Surgical Mistakes

Surgical mistakes happen more often than most people realize. Many times, the mistakes are minor and do not negatively impact the health of the patient. But sometimes the injuries are much more serious. When a mistake causes a severe injury, the doctor may be negligent and could be responsible for medical malpractice. The woman states that the doctor in this case did not properly evaluate her medical condition and failed to perform the operation correctly.

Botched Hysterectomy Procedure

The woman in this case required a hysterectomy. A hysterectomy is a procedure that is done to partially or completely remove a woman’s reproductive organs, including the uterus. It is often done in response to pain caused by fibroids, or for other medical reasons such as cancer. A total hysterectomy removes the entire uterus, cervix, and ovaries. In this case, the lawsuit states that the procedure was an abdominal hysterectomy. This is open surgery where an incision is made through which to make the removal. Most hysterectomies are completed using this procedure.

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July 6, 2016

Woman Sues Medical Center for Burns Caused by Laser Surgery

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by Levin & Perconti

Cosmetic surgery is a choice that we make and is usually considered safe and harmless. In one recent case, however, the patient claims she was severely burned due to negligence during the procedure. The woman filed a lawsuit in Cook County against Renu Cosmetic Laser Center and a doctor, seeking damages in excess of $50,000 and a jury trial.

Laser Surgery

Laser surgery is used in many types of cosmetic procedures. When done properly, laser treatments are typically harmless. Laser surgery makes a very small incision rather than a cut made with a traditional scalpel. Lasers are also used to treat a variety of skin conditions, such as scar removal. In this case, the woman experienced severe pain and physical harm due to burns caused by the laser. She received second-degree burns on her hands and arms because of the alleged negligence of the doctor.

Serious Burns

Burns can be caused by a variety of things, including lasers. Lasers that are used carefully do not cause burns. However, if care is not taken, the laser can be very harmful to skin. The laser is designed to burn the skin, but it is not to be left in one place for too long a time. The woman in this case suffered second-degree burns, which are very serious. Burns of this severity will likely leave permanent scars and may require further medical treatment.

Negligence by Doctor

The doctor in this case is accused of failing to properly perform a cosmetic procedure and failing to exercise caution while using a laser. Doctors and other medical professionals are required to use a high degree of care. In this instance, the doctor knew, or should have known, that his negligent use of the laser equipment could cause serious harm to the patient. Negligence by a doctor is also commonly called medical malpractice.

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June 16, 2016

Failed Surgery of Medical Implants Blamed for Man’s Permanent Injuries

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by Levin & Perconti

When we have surgery we expect that the procedure will resolve our medical problem, not cause injury. Yet, that is exactly what happened to a man who underwent surgical procedures as a minor. The man, who is now an adult, had surgery to correct a discrepancy in the limb length of his right leg. The procedure allegedly left him with limited range of movement and permanent disability. The man filed a lawsuit in Cook County, alleging medical malpractice.

Limb Length Discrepancy

Normally, both of a person’s legs are approximately the same length. However, in some cases, the legs may be different lengths. There are a number of reasons this can occur. The child may have had a birth defect, suffered an infection, or had a serious accident or injury. When one limb grows to a longer length than the other, it can present problems walking, can put a strain on the hips, and may damage the spine. In many cases, limb length discrepancy is resolved with surgery.

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May 3, 2016

Botched Cosmetic Procedure Prompts Lawsuit

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by Levin & Perconti

Cosmetic surgery should be considered safe and those who undergo a procedure expect that it will be completed properly and safely. Unfortunately, a cosmetic procedure went wrong for one local woman, who suffered severe injuries after the procedure was done. The woman has filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the medical group alleging that they were negligent in using the wrong materials in her procedure. The lawsuit seeks damages of more than $50,000 and is requesting a jury trial.

Bioplasty Gone Wrong

Many different types of cosmetic procedures are available to enhance or improve the body. A bioplasty is a cosmetic procedure used mainly to enhance the buttocks.. During the procedure either prosthetic inserts or some type of material is injected to increase the size of the buttocks. While this type of procedure is usually safe, there are sometimes problems that can occur, particularly when the doctor is negligent. In this case, the woman suffered pain and bleeding after the procedure and the area became infected.

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April 27, 2016

Patient Injured During Surgery Files Lawsuit

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by Levin & Perconti

When we enter the hospital for surgery we trust that our doctor will take proper care of us and not cause us further harm. Unfortunately, that is exactly what happened, according to a patient. The man was allegedly harmed because of negligence that occurred during a medical procedure. The man has filed a lawsuit in Cook County against Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical center and a doctor for medical malpractice. The lawsuit seeks damages in excess of $50,000 and a jury trial.

Surgical Mistake

The patient in this case was undergoing surgery for a cervical decompression and fusion when the proper procedures were not followed and the man was seriously hurt. The lawsuit indicates that the doctor filed to exercise the standard of care in medical care and treatment. The botched procedure caused him serious and permanent injuries. Mistakes made in hospitals and other medical facilities are among the leading causes of death in the United States.

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March 24, 2016

Botched Colonoscopy Caused Serious Injury, Lawsuit

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by Levin & Perconti

A colonoscopy is typically regarded as a somewhat routine procedure that should be considered safe. This was not the case for one man, who claims he was seriously injured by the doctor during a colonoscopy procedure. The man filed a medical malpractice lawsuit naming the doctor and practice seeking damages in excess of $50,000. According to the documentation, the man suffered a perforated colon and bladder during the operation.

Colonoscopy

A colonoscopy is an endoscopic examination of the large bowel. It is a procedure that is recommended for older individuals since it can find pre-cancerous polyps and abnormalities that would otherwise go undetected. The test is widely used as a way to screen for cancer. During the test a thin colonoscope is inserted into the colon. An attached fiber optic camera is used to examine the inside of the colon including the large intestine and usually a portion of the small intestine. If a small polyp is found, it can often be removed immediately.

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March 1, 2016

Woman Sues Doctors for Botched Surgery

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by Levin & Perconti

Levin & Perconti law firm is representing a woman who suffered permanent injuries after a surgical mistake. The woman was involved in a car accident during which she broke her pelvis. She was taken to the hospital where it was determined that surgery was required. The woman underwent an operation to repair her pelvic fractures; however, a surgical mistake caused nerve damage in her lower extremities. The woman has filed a lawsuit in Cook County claiming medical malpractice on the part of the surgeons and hospital.

Surgical Mistakes
Surgical mistakes can and do happen regularly in hospitals across the country. When you need to have a surgical procedure done you trust that the surgeons will perform their job properly and that no problems will occur. When a mistake happens during surgery it can cause serious ongoing medical problems or even death. In this case, the surgeons did not position the woman properly during and following the surgery and this lead to nerve damage. Nerve damage causes a number of symptoms and can be quite painful. The woman will likely suffer from the effects of the damage for the rest of her life.

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July 30, 2015

Back to the Basics - Litigating a Surgical Mesh Injury

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by Levin & Perconti

Surgical mesh is a medical device that is used to treat a number of health complications in female patients. The material is inserted into the pelvis for the purpose of strengthening its walls. This prevents the bladder and reproductive organs from slipping down into the vaginal area. Though this material is commonly used, it's come under extensive scrutiny. According to a report by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the surgical mesh has been a safety concern for more than three years. Thousands of women report painful side effects and complications with the device, resulting in numerous lawsuits.

Adverse Reactions to Surgical Mesh

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July 17, 2015

Is Robotic Assisted Surgery More Expensive and Dangerous?

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by Levin & Perconti

Robotic assisted surgery is becoming more and more popular to remedy certain conditions, such as pelvic prolapse, endometriosis, and others. However, there have been reports of serious complications and malpractice resulting from the use of these instruments during surgery, including organs being torn.

What are Robotic Surgical Systems?

Various computer-assisted instruments or systems can be used to assist doctors with pre-operative procedures and in performing actual surgery. These devices enable surgeons to use computer technology to move surgical instruments through the patient’s body, although they cannot operate independently of the surgeon.

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November 25, 2014

Almost One Billion Dollars in Medical Malpractice Payouts to Vets Paid by Federal Funds Instead of VA

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by Levin & Perconti

In the general population, medical malpractice happens all too often. However, as we learned earlier this year, due to funding issues and mismanagement in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), our country's veterans have been suffering medical malpractice related personal injuries and wrongful deaths at a horrifying rate. While some of the injured veterans and their families are finally obtaining compensation for their injuries, it appears that the department responsible is not actually footing the bill.

VA is Not Paying the Medical Malpractice Settlements

CBS Los Angeles reports that while thousands of payouts totaling nearly a billion dollars to veterans alleged to be medical malpractice victims have been uncovered, the Department of Veterans Affairs is not making those payments. The money is coming from the federal treasury, not the VA's own budget, according to California Congressman Adam Schiff. While settlements in these cases do not necessarily mean that the VA admits to fault for a veteran's injuries, the total amount of payments is a shocking $892 million in the last year and a half alone.

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October 25, 2014

FDA Approves Treatment for Rare Type of Hemophilia

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by Levin & Perconti

In the United States the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is the federal agency responsible for approving new prescription drugs. Reuters reports that the agency announced that it has approved a new drug called Obizur that will be used to treat bleeding episodes in adults with acquired hemophilia A.

What is Acquired Hemophilia A?

Acquired Hemophilia A is a rare but life-threatening condition. It is caused by the development of antibodies that attack a protein that the human body uses for blood clotting. That protein is called FVIII. When human blood does not clot, even a relatively minor cut can result in extraordinary amounts of bleeding. The bleeding can be even worse after a more serious injury or during surgery. While hemophilia usually only affects males, this rare form of the disorder can affect both men and women, and can be related to pregnancy, cancer, or the use of some medications. However, in many cases of this disorder, no cause is known. This is different from the better known types of hemophilia that are genetic and therefore passed on from parent to child and are present from birth.

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September 27, 2014

Report Released on Top 10 Patient Safety Strategies

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by Levin & Perconti

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) released a report earlier this year that details the top ten patient safety strategies that could be immediately implemented by healthcare providers. If every hospital were to enact these recommendations then hospitals would be safer for all of us. Fewer patients would face serious injuries or even death because of what happens to them inside the place where they go to get well. This sort of prophylactic action could ultimately decrease the number of medical malpractice cases and ultimately drive down malpractice insurance costs, meaning doctors and hospitals would benefit as well.

What is the AHRQ?

The AHRQ is a part of the United States Department of Health and Human Services. According to the agency's website, the mission of the AHRQ, “is to produce evidence to make healthcare safer, higher quality, more accessible, equitable, and affordable, and to work within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and with other partners to make sure that the evidence is understood and used.” This mission resonates with many people who have been victims of medical malpractice and with the attorney who represent them. While recovering financial loses is part of the goal in a personal injury or wrongful death case, in most cases the injured party also has a strong desire to prevent other people from being injured in the future.

What are the Report's Recommendations?

The AHRQ came up with ten strategies that the agency believes have the potential to vastly improve patient safety and save lives if they are widely implemented. Agency Director Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D. said of the strategies, “We have the evidence to show what really works to make care safer...Armed with this knowledge about what works and how to apply it, we can continue to advance our efforts to ensure patient safety.” The ten recommended patient safety strategies, as listed in an agency press release, include the use of:

1. Preoperative checklists and anesthesia checklists to prevent operative and postoperative events.

2. Bundles that include checklists to prevent central line-associated bloodstream infections.

3. Interventions to reduce urinary catheter use, including catheter reminders, stop orders, or nurse-initiated removal protocols.

4. Bundles that include head-of-bed elevation, sedation vacations, oral care with chlorhexidine, and subglottic-suctioning endotracheal tubes to prevent ventilator-associated pneumonia.

5. Hand hygiene.

6. The do-not-use list for hazardous abbreviations.

7. Multicomponent interventions to reduce pressure ulcers.

8. Barrier precautions to prevent healthcare-associated infections.

9. Use of real-time ultrasonography for central line placement.

10. Interventions to improve prophylaxis for venous thromboembolisms (Thromboembolisms are blockages of blood vessels caused by a stationary blood clot).

If used, these strategies can especially help prevent healthcare associated infections, bedsores, and medication errors. The report does not just list strategies, however. It also details evidence about the implementation of these strategies and provides information about the context in which they have been used. The hope is that this additional information will allow healthcare providers to adapt the strategies to their own facilities and needs. Some of these strategies are already used in many hospitals, while some are still relatively uncommon.

See Related Posts:

Language Barriers Create Medical Errors

Disciplining Doctors Over Medical Error is Not Occurring Enough

July 23, 2014

“Weekend Effect” Makes Routine Surgeries More Dangerous for Kids

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by Levin & Perconti

Sometimes even healthy people need emergencies surgeries, like appendectomies. While many of these surgeries are routine, they are still scary for the patients. And they may be even scarier for parents who have to see their children through them. Medical malpractice is a possibility in any surgery. While most of these surgeries turn out just fine for everyone involved, a new study shows that these surgeries may be more dangerous for kids on weekends than on other days of the week.

Increased Risk of Death

A study performed by researchers at Johns Hopkins shows that simple emergency surgeries for children are more likely to result in complications or death if they are performed on weekends. The researchers note that deaths from these surgeries, which include things like hernia repairs and appendix removals are very rare no matter what day of the week they occur. Its just that while weekend deaths are rare, they are more common than weekday deaths. And the researchers do not know why. Senior investigator Fizan Abdullah, a pediatric surgeon at Johns Hopkins University Children's Center, says, “Numerically speaking, the number of deaths was quite small, but even a single preventable death is one too many.”

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June 20, 2014

No Recovery Against Hospitals for Family Woman Killed with Packing Left in Surgical Wound

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by Levin & Perconti

Surgical errors can result in horrible consequences. This is particularly the case when something happens that should never happen in any surgery, like leaving surgical tools in a wound, or improperly packing a wound. However, even when these sorts of obvious errors happen, those who are injured (or their families in cases of death) are not always able to recover in court.

One example of this problem is a recent case from New York, Bucsko v. Gordon. While the court’s decision in the case was not released for publication, and thus has no precedential value, the facts of the case show how families can be prevented from recovering the damages they deserve as a result of the wrongful death of their loved one.

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May 25, 2014

Not All Surgical Injuries May Be Governed by Malpractice Law

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by Levin & Perconti

Usually when people think of those who are hurt during a surgery, they assume any lawsuit will be a medical malpractice case. And that is usually the case. This can be a blessing, because medical professionals are held to a higher level of professional responsibility. Their duty to a patient is greater than a regular Joe’s duty is to his common man. But it can also be a burden. Due to misguided attempts at so-called “tort reform” over the past decade, many states have put strict statutes of limitations in place that severely limit the amount of time an injured patient has in which he can file a malpractice claim. Interestingly, a New York court has recently held that not all injuries sustained during a surgery are governed by these oppressive time limits.

Case Example
In Newell v. Ellis Hospital, a woman underwent a surgery. Either while or after she was being extubated (having a tube removed from her larynx that is used during surgery to help with breathing), she fell from the operating table and was injured. Three years after the injury she sued the anesthesiologist and the assistant surgeon involved.
The anesthesiologist filed a motion to have the case dismissed, because it was filed after the statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims had run out. In New York medical malpractice claims have to be brought within two and a half years. The trial court ultimately agreed with the anesthesiologist and dismissed the case, but the injured woman appealed.

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April 24, 2014

“I’m Sorry” Bills: Stripping Personal Responsibility from Medical Malpractice Apologies

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by Levin & Perconti

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports that the Alaska Legislature has unanimously passed a bill that would make expressions of apology or compassion inadmissible in medical malpractice trials. Kurt Olson, the bill’s sponsor says his goal is to improve doctor-patient relationships. However, this type of bill strips apologies by medical professionals of any true meaning and act is just one more protection for the powerful insurance and medical industries. This is because, along with protecting so-called apologies, the bill also actively discourages the physician from admitting negligence.

Whether a doctor or other medical professional’s error leads to a personal injury claim, or an even more tragic wrongful death claim, a true apology can be extremely meaningful. Dr. Jennifer K. Robbennolt, PhD, JD has done a study on the effectiveness of apologies in the medical error context. She defines apologies as “statements that acknowledge an error and its consequences, take responsibility, and communicate regret for having caused harm.” However, a law like the one passed by the Alaska legislature eliminates on important part of that definition: taking responsibility.

Real Apologies Heal Doctor-Patient Relationships
According to her study, real apologies can achieve the bill’s sponsor’s goal of improving doctor-patient relationships. But a useful apology must admit fault and take responsibility. Patients care about three things when it comes to medical error: they want to understand what has happened to them, they want to receive an apology, and they want to prevent similar errors in the future. In fact, 98% of patients harmed by medical error wanted or expected the physician to acknowledge the error. Dr. Robbenolt similarly found that people who wind up filing medical malpractice law suits often want to make sure no one else is injured in the way they were, and want to doctors who hurt them to realize what they have done.

The study also shows that doctors who make errors and who realize their errors often want to make a meaningful apology. This bill may seem, on its face, like it allows for that. But instead it encourages doctors to avoid meaningful apologies and instead use words of so-called apology without accepting responsibility.

This is not just bad for the patients. It is also bad for the physicians. Dr. Robbennolt found that physicians are profoundly affected by medicals errors. One described the “sickening realization of making a bad mistake.” While they have plenty of selfish fear regarding their own reputations or the repercussions, many doctors also experience worry and guilt for their patients and stress over the harm done to the relationship.

These doctors want to make meaningful apologies. And in some cases they do. There is a misconception that apologies without a law like the one in Alaska (and 2/3 of the other states) are deadly to a medical practice, but its simply not true. Robbenolt notes in her paper that no link between the risk of litigation and willingness to disclose error has been established. Further, most injured patients do not sue, doctors over-estimate the risk of being sued, and real apologies actually make victims of medical error less likely to sue.

Medical errors hurt patients in a wide variety of ways—some financial and some less tangible. Those less tangible injuries can often be healed with a meaningful apology. Legislation that discourages acceptance of responsibility by doctors eliminates a meaningful method of healing both the patient and the doctor-patient relationship.

Related Blog Posts:

U.S. Supreme Court Rejects State’s Attempt to Take Excessive Funds From Legal Recovery

More Bad Legislation to Limit Legal Rights of Patients

April 22, 2014

Surgical Error: Botched Appendectomy Results in Miscarriage and Death

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by Levin & Perconti

The Belfast Telegraph reports that a woman has suffered miscarriage and death as a result of a surgical error. The 32 years old woman, who was 20 weeks pregnant with her fourth child, was admitted to the hospital for an appendectomy. Rather than removing her appendix, the junior surgeon who operated on her removed her right ovary instead.
In less than three weeks she was back in the hospital for abdominal pains. Two days later she miscarried and died on the operating table after finally having her appendix removed.

The surgeon who removed her ovary denies any misconduct. He had limited experience performing appendectomies on pregnant women, and did not ensure he was supervised during the procedure. He did not call for help when the woman started to bleed heavily during that first operation. The more senior surgeon, who was responsible for supervising the surgeon who committed the surgical error, also denies misconduct.

Prevent Becoming a Victim of Surgical Error
Patients undergoing surgery are at their most vulnerable. They are ill or injured, often frightened, and often don’t fully understand what is going wrong inside their bodies. Not to mention that during the surgery itself they are unconscious and exposed. And, despite the best intentions, surgical errors happen. When that happens, the injured patient or his loved ones should contact a medical malpractice attorney.

However, there are things that patients can do to try to prevent becoming victims of surgical error. A CNN report from 2008 provides five key tips surgical patients can follow to try to prevent becoming a victim. These include:

1. Check out your doctor and hospital.

Just as you would read reviews of a restaurant before booking your anniversary reservation, or you would examine client testimonials before hiring an attorney, you should check the qualifications of your doctor before going under the knife. Find out how many times the doctor has done the procedure and how that compares to other doctors. Research the hospital as well.

2. Tell everyone who you are and why you're having surgery.

It may seem silly, but tell everyone you deal with who you are and what surgery you are having. When hospitals get extremely busy if the staff does not recognize you, it’s easier for them to make a mistake and mix you up with the patient down the hall.

3. Make sure your doctor initials your surgical site before the operation.

This one may also make you feel a little silly, but it’s actually endorsed by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. It’s a brilliant way of making sure the right side of you is operated on.

4. Confirm the surgery site with the surgeon right before the procedure

According to Dr. James Beaty, past president of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, "You should say, 'I'm not going back to surgery until I see my doctor and we confirm that this is the right site.’”

5. Train someone to be your advocate

You will likely be scared, tired, and nervous when you undergo surgery. So teach your loved ones who will be there with you these same tips, so they can make sure these procedures are followed. After all, the more people who keep saying telling the staff and surgeons that you are John Smith and you are here to have your left kidney removed, the less likely you are to accidentally wind up with Mike Smith’s right knee replacement instead.

Related Blog Posts:

Surgical Errors are Medical Malpractice

Underreporting of Robotic Surgery Errors?