It is easy to focus only on the legal ramifications following medical negligence and forgot the lifetime of consequences often faced by patients and their families. Each Chicago medical malpractice attorney at our firm understands that while receiving financial redress is crucial, it is not at all the end of the struggle for many seriously hurt by malpractice. Once the legal situation ends the lives of these families remain forever altered. This reality should be raised more often, particularly in conversations about taking away the legal rights that these victims enjoy.
For example, NBC San Diego reported this week on the long-term consequences faced by a family even after they were successful in their legal case. The woman was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2009. Her doctor recommended a serious treatment option–a complete hysterectomy. It is a procedure that involves the removal of the woman’s cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. Believing in the doctor’s experience and professionalism, the woman and her husband agreed to go forward with the treatment.
The surgery was performed as planned. However, in the aftermath the woman was left in severe pain. Even before leaving the hospital following the procedure the woman knew that something else was likely wrong. Amazingly, when the woman stood up from her hospital bed, the problem became obvious–blood spilled everywhere, down her legs and on the floor.
In the medical malpractice lawsuit that was eventually filed, many more details came out about the treatment and operation. For one thing, an expert testified at trial that the surgeon mistakenly tore the woman’s rectum during the surgery. This led to many problems, including chronic diarrhea that was coming out vaginally. The doctor tried to repair the tear on two occasions but failed both times.
On top of that the woman developed a “fistula,” which is an abnormal vagina and rectum connection. All of this had effects on the woman’s bladder, which left her partially incontinent.
The woman’s explained the nightmare to a jury in the case which went to trial. It ultimately took over a year and several surgeries to try to get her body back to shape.
In addition, the family’s medical malpractice lawyer argued at trial that the entire ordeal could have been avoided, because the drastic surgery was not needed at all. The woman’s cervical cancer was very small–almost microscopic. As a result, the radical surgery was overkill. In addition, it wasn’t until later that the family learned that the doctor’s website incorrectly listed him as board certified in gynecology. In fact, the doctor had failed the board certification exams.
After hearing all of the evidence the jury in the case returned a verdict in the family’s favor. They awarded the woman over $900,000 for medical expenses, pain and suffering. The woman’s husband also received $267,500 for loss of companionship, comfort, care, love, and enjoyment of sexual relations.
Echoing a sentiment that our Illinois medical malpractice attorneys know many others share, she noted that “I would give every penny of it back to go back to before surgery…to be back to normal to have my body back.”
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