The Independent Mail reported last week on the end of a medical malpractice trial initiated by a husband who lost his wife because of surgical errors made during a gynecological procedure. As often happens in these suits, the end of the ordeal was a long-time coming. According to the story, the wife underwent surgery at the defendant-hospital in mid-November of 2007. The gynecological procedure was initially assumed to have gone without a major problem. However, it eventually became clear that the woman’s bowel had been perforated during the surgery. Within three weeks, the woman had died as a result of complications from that injury.
In filing the lawsuit, the family’s medical malpractice lawyers argued that a string of errors led to the woman’s death which should have been prevented. For one, the family argued that the bowel perforation itself was a sign of negligent care administered by the surgical team. In addition, the attorneys argued that the involved doctors did not sufficiently check the woman’s condition following the surgery. If they had done so, the family argued, then the bowel perforation would have been caught sooner, emergency actions could have been taken, and the woman would still be alive. For their part the medical facility and doctors denied any wrongdoing. They claimed that the bowel perforation was a common risk for that type of surgery and that timely diagnosis and treatment was rendered afterward.
In the medical malpractice trial that stemmed from the incident, the jury ultimately agreed with the husband. They found that the facility acted negligently which led to the death of the woman. The family was awarded $2.4 million. However, the hospital is expected to appeal the verdict. That means that the family will have to wait even longer before actually seeing any redress. In many cases, particularly those that go to trial, the defendants will use every legal maneuver in the book to drag out the process before providing any compensation.
Our Illinois medical malpractice lawyer appreciate that this type of case illustrates a theme common in many of these cases with various acts of negligence. Unfortunately, errors often compound on one another. In cases with the worst outcomes-where patients die-this is even more likely. In other words, it often takes several errors together to actually cause a death. For example, it was one act of negligence for the bowel to be perforated initially. However, it required additional negligent conduct-not providing proper check-up and diagnosis-which allow the complications from the initial error to lead to a fatality.
Different safeguards should be put into place at every medical facility to guard against this string of multiple errors. If checks are made at all times and protocols are following to ensure harms do not go unnoticed, then many patients who might otherwise die from these mistakes could be saved. Each Illinois medical malpractice lawsuit that exposes these errors acts as an important reminder for these facilities of the consequences of not having those checks in place. In this way, good things can hopefully come even from the most heartbreaking of tragedies.
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