Surgical Errors And Medical Mistakes

Every time a patient has to undergo an operation, there are risks of surgical negligence. Surgical errors can range from surgery on the wrong organ or site to complications that should not otherwise occur during the surgery had proper medical care been utilized.

The following case summary is a surgical error case we have personally handled and litigated. It is provided for illustrative and informational purposes only, and is not meant to offer legal advice or take the place of consultation with a qualified attorney with the requisite expertise and experience in these matters. These cases are only a sampling of the actual cases we have handled. While some cases may be similar, each case involves unique parties and specific facts, and the application of those facts to the controlling law may differ significantly depending upon the circumstances. No results or outcomes can be guaranteed in any case.

Bobby W.

Bobby W., a 57-year-old Magoffin County, Kentucky, man, required a surgery to replace an infected graft in his leg. There was not a facility in his hometown of Salyersville, Kentucky, where he could have the procedure performed so he traveled to Pikeville, Kentucky, to undergo the surgery. During the surgery, the nurses prepared the patient with "Duraprep," a 99-percent, alcohol-based antiseptic. Without waiting for the Duraprep to dry, the surgeon used an electrocautery bovie device on the patient causing the patient to catch on fire. This fire resulted in the drapes covering the patient and the patient's body catching on fire with the doctor, nurses and aids putting out by the fire with their hands. As a result of the fire, the patient suffered second- and third-degree burns to his abdomen, pelvis and pubic regions. Following the surgery, hospital employees informed the patient that he had a "reaction" to a chemical used on him during the procedure. Following his discharge from the hospital, the patient received an anonymous letter in the mail advising him of what had occurred during the procedure. The anonymous letter read:

"Dear Mr. ________, We hope you are recovering okay. There were a lot of bad things that happened to you when you were in the operating room and we don't think that Dr. ______ told you and your family the truth about what happened. First, when he was cleaning your stomach with the special soap he didn't wait for it to dry and he started using the cautery to make the cut and the solution caught on fire! You were on fire, Mr. X! That's why you had the red sore skin. That's when he was trying to clean out your leg incision, he was spastic and ripped the graft off and you almost bled to death. Then, you were bleeding so bad that he ordered all the blood that was being drained off you be given back to you in your vein. The problem is that the blood that was coming out was filled with the pus that was infecting your leg. He put infected pus back into your bloodstream and you could have died. We thought you were going to die. We are real sorry about all the bad things that happened to you, but we cant do anything about it. We don't think the hospital is doing much to him either. We can't tell you who we are, but we just wanted you to know the truth. Dr. ______ never tells the truth, and you should sue him."

Because neither the hospital nor the doctor took responsibility for their actions, a lawsuit was filed on behalf of the patient in Pike County, Kentucky. This lawsuit was settled with the hospital and the surgeon for a confidential amount shortly before the trial began.

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