The surviving family of a 37 year old Alabama man has won a $3 million jury verdict from a local hospital. The man died a few days after surgery for a duodenal ulcer. The family claimed that the man bled to death after negligent surgery, and negligent follow-up care after discharge. Specifically, the family alleged that the man’s ulcer, a perforation in the first section of the small intestine, was large and not treatable by the standard surgical procedures. The family also alleged that the man was sent home after surgery with a very low blood count and was not adequately examined by his doctor before being discharged. A copy of an article regarding the case can be found here.
I have handled many negligent surgery cases. The key to success in such cases is obtaining all of the relevant medical records, reviewing them carefully, getting a good expert witness and backing the case up with medical literature where appropriate. Also important in such a case is reviewing the medical records to make sure the post-operative care is within the standard of care and not negligent. Usually, this is done by checking the patient’s vital signs (heart rate, breathing rate, blood pressure and temperature), and drainage.
I once handled a case a somewhat similar case of a woman who came into a hospital emergency room with a bleeding ulcer and bleed to death (called exsanguination) within hours. She kept bleeding in the hospital as evidenced by her blood test results which indicated that she was experiencing severe internal bleeding (her hematocrit level kept dropping), but the doctors failed to stop the bleeding. Eventually, her blood pressure crashed and they gave her many units of blood, but by then it was too late to do surgery and she died. That should not happen where there is enough time to operate and stop the bleeding.
As an experienced Baltimore, Maryland medical malpractice lawyer, I have handled a number of medical malpractice cases involving negligent surgery, negligent emergency room or other hospital care and negligent discharge from a hospital. They are extremely complicated and require expertise that most general personal injury attorneys do not have. To see some of the cases I have handled, click here.