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Post-surgical errors led to loss of limbs, hospital to blame

Most Delaware residents know that no operation is risk-free. Fortunately, many people make it through their surgeries unharmed and have good prognoses for recovery. However, post-surgical errors could erase a good prognosis and lead to serious, debilitating, and sometimes, fatal injuries.

A man suffered from an abnormal connection between his bladder and colon. In January 2012, he underwent a procedure to repair it. In February 2012, 6 inches of his colon was removed, and staples were used to connect the two ends where the section was removed. He never fully recovered and frequently visited doctors and hospitals due to the pain. On March 22, he was readmitted to the hospital due to severe pain in his abdomen.

The hospital failed to inform his surgeon for nearly 12 hours. Through an exploratory surgery, it was discovered that the Pennsylvania man's colon was perforated, and fluids were leaking into his abdomen. His wife insisted that he be transferred to another hospital where a number of procedures were performed to clean out his abdominal cavity, but the infection had gone too far, and he lost his legs at mid-calf.

He later lost a thumb and part of a finger, which was attributed to sepsis. A lawsuit was filed in which his surgeon was cleared of any liability, and the hospital that failed to inform him was assigned 100 percent of the liability. The jury awarded the man approximately $9 million.

Sadly, this type of post-surgical error is more common that any Delaware resident would like to believe. Those who believe they suffered from surgical errors retain the right to file medical malpractice claims. In addition to the possibility of receiving an award of damages if successful, policies and procedures could be changed at hospitals in order to prevent another tragedy from occurring.

Source: triblive.com, "Jury awards $9 million in malpractice case against Butler Health System", Ben Schmitt |, Oct. 10, 2016

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