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A surgeon's reputation does not preclude surgical mistakes

Nearly every state, including Illinois, has surgeons who are beloved by patients and colleagues. That reputation, however, does not preclude the possibility that a surgeon could not make mistakes that could have adverse health consequences for a patient. In fact, those surgical mistakes could cause permanent injury or even death .

A woman, who does not live here in Illinois, underwent a hysterectomy in April 2011. Over the course of the 10 days following the surgery, it became clear that something was wrong. It was discovered that she had a pervasive infection as the result of nicks to her bowel during the hysterectomy. The surgeon failed to repair the damage at the time.

The New York woman was forced to undergo a procedure to clear the infection from her abdominal cavity. Sadly, her intestines suffered significant damage, and a colostomy was performed. During the following seven months, she had to wear a bag to collect her waste. She also required additional surgeries in an attempt to correct the damage. She subsequently filed a lawsuit against the defendant and others for medical malpractice.

The defendants appeared to focus on the fact that the doctor has a reputation of being a "conscientious and dedicated" doctor. The plaintiff pointed out that the man's reputation does not mean that he never makes surgical mistakes. The jury agreed and awarded the woman $1.52 million in damages. Surgeons are human, and this means that they are capable of making mistakes. Illinois residents who suffer injury -- or lose a loved one -- due to a surgeon's error retain the right to file a medical malpractice claim regardless of how well liked the physician might be.

Source: timesunion.com, "Delanson woman wins $1.52M malpractice jury award", Claire Hughes, March 3, 2016

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