$3M Birmingham Medical Malpractice Verdict – Delayed Surgery Results in Death

Apr 17, 2013 - Medical Malpractice by

Our Birmingham medical malpractice lawyers have learned that a widow was recently awarded $3 million in a wrongful death lawsuit filed against Birmingham Surgical, P.C. and a doctor employed therein.operation1

It took the jury roughly an hour to reach their verdict, following a 17-day trial.

The cause of his death was negligent delay of gallbladder surgery. Gallbladder surgery is supposed to be a fairly routine procedure, called a cholecystectomy. Some 500,000 people undergo the surgery each year.

Your gallbladder is a pear-shaped organ situated just below your liver. This is the organ that collects and stores bile, which is the digestive fluid made by your liver. Having this organ removed can be deemed necessary in cases of gallstones in the gallbladder or bile duct or with gallbladder inflammation and possibly even pancreatitis.

These days, the surgery is laparoscopic, meaning it’s conducted with a video camera and surgical tools inserted through a small incision.

Sometimes, there is a small risk of infection or a bile leak or blood clots. However in many cases, patients can even go home the same day of the surgery or only stay for one night.

However, if the surgery for gallbladder pain is delayed too long or not received at all, it can prove fatal. In this case, the patient was admitted to the hospital in late November for severe gallbladder pain. During that time, every single doctor – save for one – concluded during his first day of admission that the patient’s gallbladder should be removed. The one who did not agree was the surgeon. It was he who made the final call to wait. The patient was released five days later.

He was re-admitted two days after that, again with severe gallbladder pain.That time, he stayed for six days. Again, the surgeon declined to act to remove the organ, and he was ultimately released.

He returned to the hospital just four days later, where he stayed for another two weeks, until his death on Christmas Day. The cause of death was determined to be a pus-filled gallbladder, caused by severe infection and inflammation. That was according to the autopsy, though the surgeon insisted that he had died of cardiac arrest or “some other cause.”

Although the original claim named dozens of physician and medical practice defendants, it was eventually pared down to the hospital and the surgeon. Here, the jury found that the doctor continued to insist on delaying the surgery for a number of reasons – all of which were unjustified. This was the ultimate cause of this man’s death.

Failure to diagnose, misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis may all result in negligent injury or death.

Additional Resources:

Jefferson County jury awards $3 million to widow in medical malpractice lawsuit, April 11, 2013, By Kelsey Stein, AL.com

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