An intestinal surgery resulted in the death of a Georgia patient led to a wrongful death claim that was recently settled for $1,050,000. After doctors attempted to perform the laparoscopic surgery, typically a simple procedure, in July 2010, they decided the risk was too great due to a large amount of scar tissue in the 67-year-old female patient. The surgeon chose to perform a traditional, open surgery on the woman, but she began to bleed excessively from a tear in a vein. By the time another surgeon came to stem the bleeding, she had already lost too much blood and passed away a short time later.

The woman’s children submitted a wrongful death lawsuit against the surgeon and his company, alleging that the doctor was rushing through the surgery, which caused the tearing of the vein and led to her eventual death.

The surgeon insisted he did nothing wrong and claimed that the woman had scar tissue that complicated the surgery. Despite his insistence that he acted professionally, he nevertheless confessed that he did not follow normal procedures and that he normally would have inserted a needle into the abdomen to make more room. However, he failed to do so, which meant that he could not see the area as easily. Another physician provided expert testimony that this deviation was very unusual.

After a patient’s death occurs after what should have been a routine operation, surviving family members could want to hold someone accountable for the mistakes made during surgery. A personal injury attorney who handles wrongful death cases might be able to review the hospital records and help clients file a lawsuit. In some cases, the attorney might save the time and expense of a trial and convince the parties to settle out of court.

Source: Out Patient Surgery, “Did Rushing Cause This Fatal Surgical Error? Surgeon denies negligence in wrongful death case.“, Dan O, May 21, 2013