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Surgical error results in a lifetime of pain

New York patients expect that when they are treated by a physician they will not be further harmed. Unfortunately, all too often patients are harmed after putting their trust in doctors and receiving negligent medical care. If a negligent doctor makes an avoidable and major mistake, such as a surgical error, the consequences can lead to a lifetime of pain and suffering.

This is what happened to a wife and mother of three. She was diagnosed with colon cancer in its early stages. Thankfully, with appropriate medical care the cancer was treatable.

A problem arose, however, during the surgery. Despite this woman's petite size, she weighed 95 pounds and is only 5 feet and 2 inches tall, the doctor and his surgical team failed to remove a surgical towel from her abdomen. And this was no small towel. It measured 24 inches by 12 inches long. Her medical malpractice claim asserted that doctor negligence clearly caused the towel to be left behind.

The surgical error was also not discovered for five months. However, this is not a happy ending. When the towel was removed, so was more than half of the woman's small bowel, leading to a lifetime of complications.

Now, she suffers from continuous pain, frequently has to use the bathroom and can no longer leave the house, let alone work.

A jury recently awarded her and her family a medical malpractice verdict of nearly $1 million, which is at least some consolation for the pain and suffering this doctor caused. The jury also found that the doctor and the hospital system he worked for are equally to blame.

Source: The News-Herald, "Surgical towel left in patient results in $910,000 verdict against Lake Health doctor," Tracey Read, Oct. 25, 2012

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