Final Verdict: Death After Surgery

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Final Verdict: Death After Surgery

Major surgery always brings with it major risks of complications and side effects. Before and after any surgery, it is the physician’s duty to make sure that the nursing staff and patient know what complications to watch for and how to respond if things go wrong. Every surgery has different complications that may be more or less likely, depending on the patient, and so this also must be taken into consideration. Using a “cookie-cutter” or one-size-fits-all approach to medical care is an easy way to miss critical issues that can have major consequences.Final Verdict: Death After Surgery

Before surgery, a physician should carefully outline the possible risks and common complications of the procedure so that the patient can make an informed decision. If the doctor fails to do this, the doctor can be held liable if those complications happen, because the patient did not provide informed consent. Even if the patient does provide informed consent, however, the doctor isn’t off the hook. A surgeon must take care to avoid complications, and should be on the lookout for any problems after the fact.

If things do go wrong, it can be a race against the clock to make them right again. During those critical moments, it’s vital that the treatment is appropriate for the situation. If the wrong treatment is given, it can further complicate the scenario or even make recovery impossible.

Sepsis, or septic shock, is one of the most challenging risks in any surgery. Sepsis takes place when a bacterial infection grows faster than the immune system is able to respond, and the body lowers blood pressure in an attempt to prevent the infection from spreading further. The risk of sepsis is greatly increased when the surgery involves the gastrointestinal system, as it is full of bacteria that can wreak havoc outside of their natural area. A patient who has had gastrointestinal surgery requires intense, careful monitoring to guard against septic shock. 

James Mattingly, a 45-year-old plumber’s assistant, passed away tragically on July 11, 2014 in Prince George’s County, Maryland a few days after receiving an operation to attach a colostomy bag. James lived with and cared for his mother, who was elderly, and was hoping to be able to leave the hospital quickly. Unfortunately, the region around the colostomy pouch became infected. An anastomotic leak occurred, where the infection caused the surgical joint to open and leak bowel contents out around the surgical area. This life-threatening condition requires immediate treatment to have any hope of survival.

Unfortunately, even though James complained of abdominal pain consistent with anastomotic leakage, the surgical staff ignored the nursing staff’s reports. After his symptoms failed to improve, the surgeon prescribed milk of magnesia, a common laxative which only increased the flow of infected bowel fluid into the colostomy area. Five hours later, James was dead. 

Defense attorneys for the hospital and surgeon argued that there was nothing else they could have done, but surgical experts brought by medical malpractice attorneys for James’s estate said otherwise. They pointed out that it was a departure from the ordinary standard of care to give him milk of magnesia when he was already leaking fluids, and that the failure to diagnose the anastomotic leak took away any chances of survival he might have had. The Maryland jury agreed, awarding his estate $1.35 million in damages for wrongful death, delayed treatment, failure to diagnose, and prescription malpractice. If you have questions about a medical malpractice case call an attorney like  Cohen & Cohen for an evaluation of your case.

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My experience with Cohen &Cohen was beyond my expectations. Jill did an amazing job with negotiating on my behalf and got me way more money than I anticipated. Thank you for having my back.
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June 23, 2022.
To say that I am happy with the outcome of my case is the understatement of the century! Jill Stanley is a BEAST at what she does. That is the only way to explain it. She takes no prisoners. She and her team are very skilled and knowledgeable. I am so happy I trusted them to do their job and rolled with Jill's suggestions. I would choose Jill again 100 times. She settled my case for more than I imagined I would receive. I was literally in tears. It is the best feeling to know my pain isn't for naught. Wayne Cohen and Kristopher Yorke were nothing short of amazing. They have the patience of saints. I'm 100% certain that I got on their last nerves with my frustration and tears at every other call I had with them. Being in pain and wanting to just be able to heal was all I could focus on, but they helped me realize that I also had to focus on the bigger picture (the case) so I could put this piece behind me. As a high-strung individual with anxiety, it was hard for me to not worry and let them do their jobs, but they reassured me all of the time that they had this. To be injured before the start of the pandemic and have to receive regular, weekly treatment while others are able to stay home is anxiety inducing. I was in pain, I was anxious, and I was just hoping it all worked out. It more than worked out. I hope Jill, Siri, and Kris know how much their hard work and "hanging in there" meant to me. I am eternally grateful. I can't recommend you all enough. If you choose this law firm, you won't be sorry!
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