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Claimed surgical errors may justify lost earnings recovery

Where medical malpractice from surgical errors causes the patient to become disabled and unable to work for an extended time, a malpractice claim filed in Delaware or elsewhere may include a demand for compensation for lost earnings and lost earning capacity. First, there must be sufficient proof of medical negligence. Secondly, there must be sufficient evidence that the surgical errors were a substantial cause of the disability and the lost earnings.

A suit filed in 2013 shows how alleged surgical errors may result in a serious interference with the patient's livelihood. The plaintiff is a guitarist for the best-selling group, Alien Aunt Farm. He alleges in the suit that doctors left gauze in his stomach during surgery to treat diverticulitis in 2011.

Since that time, he has battled the hospital and doctors that were a part of that allegedly bungled procedure. Months after the surgery, he came down with various internal symptoms that made him unable to work. In Nov. 2012, he was limping from pain and had to go to the hospital's emergency room. Tests showed perforations in his intestine, and a surgeon told him that x-rays revealed the gauze from the earlier surgery.

He had to undergo several later surgeries, including an initial procedure to remove the gauze pad. Later surgeries attempted to repair the perforation. In the process, he had to wear a colostomy bag to collect waste and at times had to eat with a feeding tube. Eventually, there was surgery to remove what was left of his colon. A recent procedure tried again to fix the perforation, but the musician appears to have a permanent partial disability that will affect his work output.

The lawsuit asks for lost wages, medical expenses and pain and suffering. Assuming that there will be expert testimony supporting that the surgical errors are responsible for the disability, he may be able to obtain a settlement or to win a verdict at trial. The applicable principles of negligence apply here in Delaware as well as in all other states.

Source: pe.com, "RIVERSIDE: Rocker aims to recapture success after health rigors", Stephen Wall, Dec. 2, 2015

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