Patients who require surgery are trusting their physicians to take good care of them and to let them know if there are any issues. In most cases, the procedure goes as planned and the patient can focus on recovery. However, in some situations something may go wrong. How the physician responds can impact the patient’s recovery. In some cases, the physician fails to respond appropriately, and the patient suffers serious, sometimes fatal, injuries.
A recent case provides an example.
Patient gets abdominal surgery, leaves with fatal injuries
The case began when the patient went in for a laparoscopic abdominal surgery. Shortly after the procedure, the patient experienced pain. After contacting her physician, she was told to eat broth and keep moving to help the healing process. The pain continued to worsen, and the patient ultimately returned to the hospital’s emergency room where tests indicated the patient was septic, but the doctor still sent her home.
In the days following her return home, the patient’s loved ones called the hospital repeatedly as the patient’s condition continued to deteriorate. Four days after the procedure, the patient died. After an autopsy, it was clear that the patient died from a complication directly connected to the procedure — a perforated bowel.
The family of the patient is now suing the physician, his medical practice, the hospital, and others. The lawsuit states that the treating physician cut the patient’s bowel during the procedure, that the physician both failed to notice the cut and failed to repair the mistake. The lawsuit further states that the medical staff provided negligent post-operative care and neglected to adequately respond to the family’s multiple complaints.
Case provides important lesson for other patients
This case provides an important example of a medical malpractice lawsuit. It involves a serious injury that can be directly tied to a mistake made during the patient’s medical care. Even in cases like this that may seem like a clear example of medical malpractice, it is important for the patient or their loved ones to take care when moving forward with the lawsuit. A failure to follow legal requirements when putting together the lawsuit can undermine the case. Some common mistakes to avoid:
- Waiting too long. Cases like these generally have a time limit, referred to as a statute of limitations. Victims can lose the ability to hold a negligent doctor accountable if they fail to file the lawsuit within this given period of time.
- Not backing up their claim. Medical malpractice lawsuits are serious matters and courts will require evidence to back up the claim. Bringing the bare minimum is often not enough. It is common for courts to require expert testimony in these cases to help show that the physician’s actions were negligent.
- Missing defendants. This case provides an example of the need to list multiple defendants, not just the physician. The hospital where the physician practices can also have some responsibility, as could the physician group as a whole.
These are just a few mistakes that can jeopardize an otherwise strong medical malpractice case. As a result, it is generally best to seek help when putting together a case to better ensure success.