When an Illinois resident needs surgery, he or she does not usually expect to suffer from complications that can eventually lead to even worse illness or injury. However, situations like this are occasionally reported in the news. In a recent out-of-state case, a man was awarded $776,000 at the conclusion of a lawsuit alleging surgical negligence. His now deceased wife, who initiated the suit, claimed that she suffered from complications that led to end-stage liver disease after a botched gallbladder surgery.
The plaintiff's wife had the surgery in Dec. 2010, and her health purportedly began to decline several months afterwards. She was admitted to the hospital in May 2011 with jaundice and severe pain. It was during that time that doctors noticed that her surgical staples had been put in the wrong duct, cutting off the flow of bile to her digestive system from her liver.
Doctors removed the staples, but it was too late. She was diagnosed with end-stage liver disease and put on a waiting list for a liver transplant. In Nov. 2012, her poor health required her to move into a nursing home, and she was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease the following month. When she passed away in Aug. 2013, the coroner was not able to determine if the liver disease or Lou Gehrig's disease caused her death.
Surgical negligence of this magnitude is, fortunately, very rare. However, when it does happen, it can be devastating to patients and loved ones. Anyone in Illinois who is dealing with a similar situation may benefit from learning more about our medical malpractice laws. In some cases, the injured party may be able to seek restitution for physical pain and suffering, emotional anguish and medical expenses resulting from the surgical error.
Source: Rapid City Journal, Jury awards Interior man $776,000 in medical malpractice lawsuit, Andrea J. Cook, Jan. 19, 2014