Technology has significantly advanced the field of all areas of medicine in Delaware and across the country. Because of advanced technology, many complicated surgeries have been reduced to shorter outpatient procedures and surgeries. Simpler surgeries reduce recovery, surgical errors and the chance for other complications. Unfortunately, patient harm can still occur. One family in another state lost their husband and father after he contracted an antibiotic-resistant bacteria from a contaminated surgical tool.
The patient suffered from pancreatic cancer and underwent a procedure involving a gastrointestinal scope. The scopes are often used for diagnosis and treatment of a patient’s gastrointestinal tract by placing it down the patient’s mouth. After the procedure, the man contracted a deadly bacteria that was traced back to the scope. Apparently, if not properly cleaned, bacteria can become trapped inside of the scope. Sadly, the man was one of 35 patients in the United States believed to have died a result of contaminated scopes.
The patient’s wife and children decided to file a lawsuit against the maker of the scope, and the hospital that treated their loved one joined the lawsuit. The lawsuit went to trial and lasted eight weeks. Although the jury concluded that the scope’s design was adequate, the education by the company to the hospital regarding proper cleaning procedures was determined to be negligent. The scope company was ordered to pay the hospital $6.6 million in damages. The jury also determined the hospital shared some responsibility in the man’s death, and they were required to pay the family $1 million for their loss.
Surgical errors, infections and other complications can result in unexpected but necessary expensive medical treatment. Sadly, many times death may also occur, leaving family members financing a funeral as they grieve their loss. Wrongful death lawsuits are an option for families to consider when they suspect their loved one’s death may have resulted because of a medical professional’s negligence. Personal injury attorneys in Delaware can advise families of their options to pursue recovery of monetary damages in civil court.
Source: The Seattle Times, “Virginia Mason awarded $6.6M in contaminated-scope lawsuit–but hospital has to pay family“, Chad Terhune and Jonel Aleccia, July 24, 2017