Monday, 28 of May of 2018

Tag » surgical

Surgeon Performs Brain Procedure on Wrong Side of Patient’s Head

The patient’s parents realized this type of medical negligence was unacceptable and filed a medical malpractice lawsuit. At trial, the hospital’s insurance company tried to pin the blame solely on the at-fault doctor while neglecting the fact that hospital nurses and administrators failed to inform the patient’s parents about the full extent of the damage until months after the horrific surgical error.

By Jim Lewis, Medical Malpractice Lawyer in Virginia

A 19-year-old patient suffering from a seizure disorder went in for surgery to have faulty brain tissue removed. Unfortunately, this procedure was just the beginning of his nightmare.

The surgeon who operated on the patient removed brain tissue from the wrong side of his head. Yes, you read that correctly – he cut open the patient’s head and removed tissue from the exact wrong side.

The surgeon realized his medical mistake and proceeded to operate on the other side, but the damage had been done.

After the surgery, the patient’s condition only got worse. Not only did he continue to suffer from seizures, but he started suffering from psychotic delusions and deteriorating intelligence, according to the Commercial Appeal.

The patient’s parents realized this type of medical negligence was unacceptable and filed a medical malpractice lawsuit. At trial, the hospital’s insurance company tried to pin the blame solely on the at-fault doctor while neglecting the fact that hospital nurses and administrators failed to inform the patient’s parents about the full extent of the damage until months after the horrific surgical error.

Fortunately, a jury realized the pain this poor patient had been put through through and awarded him $20 million for damages.

I’m glad the jury sided with the patient. Blatant medical mistakes like the one in this case are simply unacceptable.  

About the Editors: Shapiro, Cooper Lewis & Appleton is a law firm which focuses on injury and accident law and our attorneys have experience handling medical malpractice cases, which includes hospital/doctor mistakes, and nursing home abuse and neglect. Check out our case results to see for yourself. In addition, check out our FREE special reports on the Top 10 Tips from a Medical Malpractice Insider and the top 5 surgical errors you must know about. Our primary office in based in Virginia Beach, Virginia (VA) and we also have a North Carolina (NC) law office.  Our lawyers hold licenses in NC, SC, WV, KY and DC. We are ready to talk to you by phone right now—we provide free initial confidential injury case consultations, so call us toll free at 1-800-752-0042. Our injury attorneys also host an extensive injury law video library on Youtube . Furthermore, our lawyers proudly edit the Virginia Beach Injuryboard and Norfolk Injuryboard as a pro bono public information service. PA


Attorney Examines the Risks of Needles Left Inside a Patient After Surgery

A needle left inside a patient can lead to very serious injuries or even death since it is a sharp object that could puncture and/or tear a vital organ or tissue. A study conducted by the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard School of Public Health found that 1,500 patients are the victims of this type of surgical error every year. To put that number into perspective, 1,500 patients breaks down to about four victims every day. To learn more, check out this article:

How Dangerous is a Surgical Needle When Left in the Human Body?


Victim’s Jury Award Reduced to Comply with Medical Malpractice Damage Cap

Unfortunately, VA law does not fully appreciate our trial by jury system and has an arbitrary “damage cap” to restrict the amount of compensation a victim can receive. The goal of this cap is to try and cut down on “frivolous lawsuits” and keep health insurance premiums under control. Well, health insurance premiums continue to escalate and you have to ask yourself - Does this case and the pain inflicted upon the victim sound frivolous? This is a woman who went in to have a hysterectomy and awoke to find her vagina stitched to her rectum.

By Jim Lewis, Medical Malpractice Lawyer in Virginia

A woman who had her vagina stitched to her rectum received a $3 million award from a jury in Winchester, Virginia (VA). A jury realized how egregious this surgical error was and considered the multiple surgeries the victim had to endure (along with being forced to wear a colostomy bag for two months) while arriving at the $3 million award.

Unfortunately, VA law does not fully appreciate our trial by jury system and has an arbitrary “damage cap” to restrict the amount of compensation a victim can receive. The goal of this cap is to try and cut down on “frivolous lawsuits” and keep health insurance premiums under control. Well, health insurance premiums continue to escalate and you have to ask yourself – Does this case and the pain inflicted upon the victim sound frivolous? This is a woman who went in to have a hysterectomy and awoke to find her vagina stitched to her rectum.

The doctor’s best defense was that this type of surgical error was an “acceptable risk.” I don’t think any reasonable person would actually anticipate enduring such a serious injury when they schedule a hysterectomy.

The victim’s $3 million jury award was reduced to $1.925 million, which was the precise amount allowed under the cap at the time of the lawsuit, according to the Winchester Star. The victim’s lawyer argued that the cap was unconstitutional, but the Judge did not did not agree.

These types of cases perfectly illustrate the serious defects of having a medical malpractice damages cap. The victim in this case had her life changed forever through no fault of her own. She will continue to suffer pain and mental anguish for years, perhaps for the rest of her life. How does VA’s legal system respond to this pain? It essentially punishes the victim by cutting the award she received by a jury of her peers. 

Let’s hope our legislators eventually realize that having a damage cap does nothing but penalize a victim and undermines a key component to the bedrock our democracy – the trial by jury and the awards provided by these juries. 

About the Editors: Shapiro, Cooper Lewis & Appleton is a law firm which focuses on injury and accident law and our attorneys have experience handling medical malpractice cases, which includes hospital/doctor mistakes, and nursing home abuse and neglect. Check out our case results to see for yourself. In addition, check out our FREE special reports on the Top 10 Tips from a Medical Malpractice Insider and the top 5 surgical errors you must know about. Our primary office in based in Virginia Beach, Virginia (VA) and we also have a North Carolina (NC) law office.  Our lawyers hold licenses in NC, SC, WV, KY, FL and DC. We are ready to talk to you by phone right now—we provide free initial confidential injury case consultations, so call us toll free at 1-800-752-0042. Our injury attorneys also host an extensive injury law video library on Youtube . Furthermore, our lawyers proudly edit the Virginia Beach Injuryboard and Norfolk Injuryboard as a pro bono public information service.


Surgical Mistakes Can Have Tragic Consequences

By Jim Lewis, Medical Malpractice Attorney

A surgeon in Chesterfield, Virginia (VA) was performing a kidney removal procedure on a 76-year-old patient when he mistakenly stapled the wrong vein and shut off blood flow to the patient’s working kidney. This surgical mistake subsequently led to the patient’s death.

The family of the patient decided to hire an attorney and a medical malpractice lawsuit was filed. The surgeon had no explanation for the medical error and appeared devastated by his patient’s death, according to Virginia Lawyers Weekly.

The remorse displayed by the surgeon illustrates the fact that many medical mistakes are genuine errors that have no rhyme or reason. Nevertheless, showing remorse does not remove liability and does not ease the pain and suffering for the patient’s wife and three daughters who are forced to pick up the pieces of their lives after a wrongful death. This is why the lawsuit was filed on behalf of the victim’s family.

A settlement was reached that was acceptable to the family, even though no amount of compensation will ever be enough to replace the death of a loved one.

This case is evidence of just how risky any surgical procedure can be since surgeons are human and are known to commit mistakes from time to time. If you are planning to have a surgical procedure, you should consult with your family about a potential medical malpractice scenario and what they should do in case a serious medical error occurs. Nearly 100,000 people die every year due to preventable medical errors, so this is a topic worthy of discussion. It’s not a pleasant subject, but being prepared for an unexpected event is always better than struggling to figure out what to do in the midst of a medical crisis.

Before your family discussion, be sure to take a look at these free consumer reports about medical mistakes and surgical errors:

The Top 5 Surgical Errors and How NOT to Become a Victim

Top 10 Tips from Experienced Medical Malpractice Lawyers

About the Editors: Shapiro, Cooper Lewis & Appleton is a law firm which focuses on injury and accident law and our attorneys have experience handling medical malpractice cases, which includes hospital/doctor mistakes, and nursing home abuse and neglect. Check out our case results to see for yourself. In addition, check out our FREE special reports on the Top 10 Tips from a Medical Malpractice Insider and the top 5 surgical errors you must know about. Our primary office in based in Virginia Beach, Virginia (VA) and we also have a North Carolina (NC) law office.  Our lawyers hold licenses in NC, SC, WV, KY and DC. We are ready to talk to you by phone right now—we provide free initial confidential injury case consultations, so call us toll free at 1-800-752-0042. Our injury attorneys also host an extensive injury law video library on Youtube . Furthermore, our lawyers proudly edit the Virginia Beach Injuryboard and Norfolk Injuryboard as a pro bono public information service. PA


Safe Surgery Check List Could Help Reduce Surgical Mistakes and Medical Errors

By Shapiro, Lewis, Appleton and Favaloro, VA/NC Medical Malpractice Lawyer

Surgeons could reduce patient complications, medical mistakes and loss of life by following a “safe-surgery checklist,” according to a study recently published by the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).

The “safe-surgery checklist” mandates that surgical teams stop at three critical points pre- and post-surgery to ask essential questions concerning the operation.  Questions might include: “Is there enough blood on hand in case of severe bleeding? Have antibiotics been administered? What are the anesthesiologist’s and nurse’s main concerns?”

The “safe-surgery checklist” has proven effective at the hospitals and medical centers that utilize it. The study shows that approximately one third of patient complications and deaths were reduced when surgeons followed the “safe-surgical checklist.” Despite the effectiveness of this checklist, only 20 percent of hospitals have adopted it.

In Virginia (VA) and North Carolina (NC), tens of thousands of surgeries take place every year and it is estimated that one in every 5,000 patients will unfortunately have a surgical object left inside them (nationwide). This is a preventable medical mistake that the checklist helps address.  Maybe if more hospitals implemented such a checklist, the quality of patient care would increase significantly and the number of surgical mistakes would decrease. Surgical errors like this are considered “never events,” meaning that with the execution of proper procedures, they should never occur.

USA Today noted “that help can come from a checklist, much like one routinely used by pilots before every flight.” Just as pilots refer to a checklist to ensure the efficiency of a flight so to should surgeons to ensure the efficiency of a surgery. The checklist in both instances serves as a guide and is ultimately beneficial for everyone (doctors, patients, loved ones) involved.

About the Editors: Shapiro, Cooper Lewis & Appleton is a law firm which focuses on injury and accident law and our attorneys have experience handling medical malpractice cases, which includes hospital/doctor mistakes, and nursing home abuse and neglect. Check out our case results to see for yourself. In addition, check out our FREE special reports on the Top 10 Tips from a Medical Malpractice Insider and the top 5 surgical errors you must know about. Our primary office in based in Virginia Beach, Virginia (VA) and we also have a North Carolina (NC) law office.  Our lawyers hold licenses in NC, SC, WV, KY and DC. We are ready to talk to you by phone right now—we provide free initial confidential injury case consultations, so call us toll free at 1-800-752-0042. Our injury attorneys also host an extensive injury law video library on Youtube . Furthermore, our lawyers proudly edit the Virginia Beach Injuryboard and Norfolk Injuryboard as a pro bono public information service. PA


Surgical Tools Left Inside A Patient Can Cause Serious Health Problems

By John Cooper, VA/NC Medical Negligence Attorney

A study conducted by the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard School of Public Health found that 1,500 patients discover that a surgical instrument like a scalpel, scissors, sponges, etc. was left inside their body.

Laws are in place that impose the duty upon surgeons and their assistants to exercise reasonable care to make sure that before they end the surgery, any towels, sponges, and other surgical tools have been removed from the patient. Failure to do so can be considered a preventable mistake, and some sources of medical literature estimate that the average cost incurred by a patient who has a surgical tool/foreign object left in them exceeds $50,000. These preventable injuries frequently result in sepsis, which require lengthy hospitalizations and a number of additional surgeries.

Our law firm has experience handling these types of cases. We represented a woman in Richmond, Virginia (VA) who had a hysterectomy and later discovered a surgical sponge was left inside her body (she didn’t find this out until six months after the surgical procedure). This created a fistula in her bowel which required a subsequent bowel resection surgery. Fortunately, we were able to reach a successful settlement to help her with medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Medical malpractice lawsuits filed in VA follow a two-year statute of limitations, although special exceptions may extend the medical negligence statute of limitations. One of these exceptions is when something is discovered some time later after an initial surgery or medical procedure, and this is called the “discovery rule.” When it applies, the “discovery rule” permits a suit to be filed within a certain period of time after the injury or illness is discovered, or reasonably should have been discovered. The discovery rule does not apply to all injuries, and sometimes the period of time for bringing a claim post-discovery can be short, so it is important to seek legal assistance quickly in the event of the late discovery of an injury.

The Virginia discovery rule extension is still limited for medical negligence and you should consult a lawyer to get a fully overview of how to deal with a case that may involve something that you believe was “hidden” by the hospital, doctor, or surgeon (like a sponge or towel sewn up in your body, or a piece of a surgical tool left in a surgical site).

About the Editors: Shapiro, Cooper Lewis & Appleton is a law firm which focuses on injury and accident law and our attorneys have experience handling medical malpractice cases. Check out our case results to see for yourself. In addition, take a moment to review out our free consumer reports on the Top 10 Tips from a Medical Malpractice Insider and the Top 5 Surgical Errors You Must Know About. Our injury attorneys also host an extensive injury law video library on Youtube .We have offices based in Virginia Beach, VA and Elizaberth City, NC but we’ll come to you.  Our lawyers hold licenses in VA, NC, SC, WV, KY and DC. We provide this blog as a pro bono service.

PA