A California medical malpractice lawsuit was filed late last month in the Superior Court of California for Fresno County that alleges that a well-known California cardiac surgeon who performed open heart surgery on a patient on April 2, 2012 to treat his ascending aortic aneurysm, failed to remain in the operating room until the plaintiff’s chest was properly closed, failed to designate another qualified physician to care for the plaintiff prior to leaving the operating room while the plaintiff was not stable, and failed to timely and appropriately respond to the plaintiff’s deteriorating condition, which led to his severe blood loss, cardiac arrest, and his being placed on life support.
The patient’s family who filed the California medical malpractice case allege that they were not aware of the true reason why their loved one suffered such catastrophic injuries during open-heart surgery until October 26, 2013, when the patient’s wife received a telephone call from an unknown medical provider stating that her husband’s cardiac surgeon had walked out in the middle of the open-heart surgery and left a physician’s assistant to finish performing the surgery. The unidentified caller also criticized the surgeon’s care and treatment as having caused her husband’s injuries.
The plaintiffs’ seek compensatory damages for the husband’s past and future medical expenses, his around-the-clock nursing home care, past and future loss of earnings, past and future pain, suffering, mental anguish, and restriction and limitation of his activities, and for the damage to the marriage. The defendants include the cardiac surgeon, his medical group, and the hospital where the heart surgery took place.
The California Health and Human Services Agency received an anonymous complaint on April 11, 2012 regarding the incident. The Agency reviewed the patient’s clinical record on April 17, 2012 and determined that the cardiac surgeon had left the operating room and the hospital prior to the plaintiff’s chest being closed (a vascular surgeon closed the man’s chest using wire sutures). The heart surgeon left the physician’s assistant in charge (“an individual not qualified to be left in-charge of the CV surgery”). The physician’s assistant had to re-open the patient’s chest and manually massage his heart. The patient suffered massive blood loss, cardiac arrest, and was placed on life support, where he remains.
The Agency determined that the cardiac surgeon had violated the defendant hospital’s Rules and Regulations under its Bylaws which do not permit the primary surgeon to leave the operating room prior to the patient being established as stable (the Agency determined that the surgeon left before the patient was stabilized). The cardiac surgeon allegedly admitted that he permitted the physician’s assistant to “practice above her privilege card.”
If you or a loved one in California or in another U.S. state may have suffered injuries or other harms as a result of medical negligence, you should promptly seek the legal advice of a California medical malpractice attorney (or a medical malpractice attorney in your state) who may investigate your medical malpractice claim for you and represent you in a medical malpractice lawsuit, if appropriate.
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