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A New York jury has awarded a Queens man a substantial verdict after his cardiac surgeons’ postoperative negligence led to a cascade of destructive health complications. Ultimately, the man went on to spend two-and-a-half years in hospitals and rehabilitation facilities due to the medical malpractice.
The man went to a hospital in Roslyn, New York, for a routine cardiac bypass procedure in late 2004. He was treated by two surgeons, and the surgery itself was successful. Unfortunately, the man developed a postoperative complication known as cardiac tamponade, or compression of the heart caused by bleeding into his chest.
Undiagnosed Post-Surgery Complication Impacted Multiple Systems in the Patient’s Body; Led to Long-Term, Catastrophic Health Issues
The two doctors failed to diagnose the cardiac tamponade, and the bleeding continued until the pressure in the man’s chest cavity caused him to go into cardiac arrest. He needed a second cardiac surgery after the heart attack. The complications, however, were far from over.
Over the more than two years the man spent in treatment for problems originating from the cardiologic diagnosis errors, he endured permanent nerve damage, sepsis, shock, and multiple bed sores. At one point, he was forced to have a tracheostomy, in which a breathing hole is surgically created in the neck. He also suffered kidney failure and a brain injury.
After his recovery, the patient sued both doctors for medical malpractice. A Queens County jury awarded him $7 million in damages to compensate him for the expenses and suffering he incurred due to his doctors’ postoperative negligence.
Effective surgical intervention is one of the fundamentals of modern medicine — one that saves or improves innumerable lives every day. Whenever we are confronted with the need for surgery, however, we understand that we are facing risks. Every patient has the right to expect that the medical professionals handling every aspect of a surgical intervention with due care.
It is critical for surgeons and surgical teams to follow established patient safety procedures and remain vigilant at every point in the process: before the surgery begins, during the operation, and during postoperative recovery. Negligence at any of these points can lead to poor outcomes or, as we see in this story, a degree of suffering that can be simply appalling.
Source: Long Island Business News, “Judge awards $7M in malpractice suit,” John Callegari, December 29, 2010