A settlement has been reached in a malpractice suit brought against a Dr.and Hospital by a woman whose left leg had to be amputated as a result of complications from spinal surgery performed at the hospital. The 63 year old plaintiff reached a $5.25 million settlement with the treating doctor and the hospital according to court documents. As an experienced trial attorney I have reviewed many cases of medical malpractice and have completed same with favorable results.The suit alleged that the doctor who performed an “anterior transabdominal approach to the lumbosacral spine” on the patient, and the hospital staff that took care of her in the intensive care unit after her surgery failed to properly provide care and treat the victim resulting in the loss of her left leg.
The victim’s attorney stated that her client’s injury was one of the most heinously injured clients that he had ever had and it was amazing that the victim had survived. The doctor who was the hospital’s chief of surgery at the time, is now retired.His attorney,declined comment last week and said he could not comment on the settlement because of a confidentiality agreement. The victim’s lawyer said that she went into the hospital to have an elective back surgery. The doctor who had experience in general surgery, performed the initial portion of the surgery that exposed the spine. That doctor is no longer affiliated with the hospital but at the time his job was to do the vascular surgery. He is not a vascular surgeon. He is a general surgeon.
According to the lawsuit during the patient’s post-operative recovery in the intensive care unit; she suffered intra-abdominal hemorrhaging, post-operative bleeding, abdominal wounds, and other severe complications that the medical staff did not appropriately diagnose or treat, resulting in a gangrenous lower leg condition that required an above-the-knee amputation. The lawsuit alleged that the nursing staff did not properly supervise or monitor her care and, when complications arose, her physicians were not notified promptly so adequate medical interventions could be made.
The doctor was previously disciplined by the state Department of Public Health in relation to an accusation that, he had previously scheduled the repair of a hernia in a woman who had just undergone a Caesarean section but mistakenly performed a minor surgical operation on the wrong side,the lawyer argued in the suit. In that case,the doctor opted against a full hearing to contest the action and signed a consent order related to the facts in the case. He was required to pay a civil penalty of $5,000.
At the time of her planned back surgery, the lawyer said, she was unaware the doctor was to be involved in her surgery until just before the procedure was to take place. He said that denied her an opportunity to check on his credentials, which would have indicated prior medical malpractice complaints. As part of the lawsuit against the hospital, the victim’s lawyer arranged for two independent medical personnel — a 39-year health care administrator and a registered nurse certified in nursing administration — to provide their findings.Their findings alleged the doctor’s surgical procedure prompted complications he did not diagnose in a timely manner.
In addition, the experts deemed the intensive care nurses did not recognize the patient was facing a vascular emergency and failed to promptly notify the doctor of the patient’s escalating complications.