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$3 million award in fatal surgical error case

A tragic medical malpractice case was recently completed, and though it didn't happen here in Arizona, it still highlights some important factors about medical care and medical malpractice lawsuits. In 2009, a 64-year-old woman went in for surgery to have an ovarian cyst removed. During the course of the procedure, the woman's bowel was pierced.

After the surgery, the woman complained about how she was feeling, but it is clear that those complaints were not heeded. Additionally, it seems clear that the medical team did not appropriately inspect the woman's bowel after the procedure, even though this bowel puncture is a known risk for the procedure she was going through.

The woman eventually died as a result of the complications following the procedure. The case went to trial as the woman's family sued for medical malpractice. Recently, the case was finalized with a jury awarding the woman's spouse $3 million. Though a sense of justice was achieved, a woman still lost her life because of negligent medical care. That can never be healed or changed.

Medical care is a funny thing, because even though we would like it to be perfect, it is inherently imperfect. Doctors and medical staff members aren't immune to human imperfections. Mistakes are going to happen. So when they do happen, even though we expect they won't, the victim (or their loved ones) need to be prepared for the legal side of this unfortunate moment.

Source: AJC.com, "DeKalb jury awards $3 million in medical malpractice case," Bill Rankin, Jan. 27, 2016

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