Most patients go into surgery cognizant that surgical intervention carries with it some risk. Nevertheless, doctors, hospital staff and surgeons have an on-going duty to provide a reasonable standard of care. Negligent healthcare provides may be held liable for providing sub-standard care, lack of informed consent, mistakes during surgery and other errors.
Recently, the family of a 44-year-old who died due to complications from surgeries she had has filed a medical malpractice suit against the hospital and, at least three surgeons. After several pre-surgery screens, the woman was cleared for gastric bypass surgery, which her doctor recommended as a weight loss option.
During the surgery, the surgeon found a tumor, halted the gastric bypass and removed the tumor instead which was later found to be benign. The 44-year old was reportedly in a lot of pain and was spitting blood after the surgery. A couple of days later she underwent another surgical procedure to repair a hernia. Doctors deemed the surgery to be fine but several days later she suffered sepsis, tachycardia and multiple organ failure. The autopsy found that she died from complications resulting from the removal of the tumor and noted the perforation made during the first surgery.
It is clear that the 44-year-old consented to the gastric bypass surgery but, it unclear it she provided consent to the procedure of removing the tumor. The definition of informed consent varies from state to state, but in essence refers to a healthcare provider informing a patient about the procedure, treatment and risks prior to the actual procedure and, giving their informed consent. There are a few exceptions. Nevertheless, families harmed by a doctor or surgeons negligence should early on consult with a medical malpractice or surgical mistakes attorney.
Source: New York Post, “Docs killed my mom: suit,” Dan Mangan, March 19, 2013