A general surgeon and a hospital who were named defendants in a medical malpractice case filed against them in 2007 settled with a 63-year-old woman who had to have her left leg amputated following spinal surgery performed in 2005. The total settlement paid was $5.25 million, which was agreed to in September, 2009.
The defendant general surgeon, who was the hospital’s chief of surgery at the time, performed the first part of the surgery that was necessary to expose the spine for the next portion of the elective back surgery. The medical malpractice claim alleged that the initial part of the surgery should have been performed by a vascular surgeon, and not by a general surgeon.
The medical malpractice claim alleged that the woman’s post-operative care in the hospital’s intensive care unit was complicated by abdominal bleeding and other complications that were not appropriately diagnosed or treated, leading to gangrene in her lower left leg that required her left leg to be amputated above her knee.
It was alleged that the same general surgeon was publicly disciplined in 2004 for an incident that occurred in 2002 during which he allegedly operated on the wrong side during a minor surgical procedure. In that case, the general surgeon reportedly signed a consent order regarding the facts of the case and paid a $5,000 civil penalty.
The woman alleged in her medical malpractice case that she did not become aware of the general surgeon’s participation in her back surgery until shortly before the surgery, which left her without time to check his credentials. Had she had time to check his credentials, she alleged that the now-retired general surgeon’s prior medical malpractice history would have caused her to not agree to his participation in her surgery.
When one agrees to have a surgical procedure performed on an elective basis, one seeks to obtain the best available and competent surgeon and medical support staff (the need for emergency surgery limits one’s ability to investigate and choose a competent, skilled, and experienced surgeon). Not all surgeons are able to perform specific surgical procedures with the same level and quality of skill. Recommendations from primary care physicians, former patients, and other reliable sources for appropriate surgeons are essential to hiring the best surgeon for your surgical needs.
If you or a family member suffered a bad outcome from surgery, medical malpractice may be the reason for your situation. The advice of a medical malpractice attorney is essential to determine if you have a viable medical malpractice claim. Visit our website to be connected with local medical malpractice lawyers to assist you in investigating whether you are the victim of medical malpractice or telephone us toll free at 800-295-3959.
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