lawsuit surgical error ended professional opera career ii

Last time, our blog discussed how those who have suffered irreparable damage due to a medical mistake or botched surgical procedure must understand that they can seek to hold the responsible parties accountable for their actions. In other words, we made it clear that people do have options when medical negligence has affected their career, personal pursuits and ability to perform everyday activities.

By way of illustration, we discussed a lawsuit recently filed against the federal government alleging that a surgical mistake made during an otherwise routine childbirth operation effectively destroyed the plaintiff’s career as a professional opera singer.

To recap, a woman whose husband was a staff sergeant in the Army entered the military hospital located at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, to give birth to her son back in February 2012. During the course of the birth, the supervising nurse-midwife allegedly performed an episiotomy on the woman without informing her or securing her consent.

While the supervising nurse-midwife attempted to repair the incision using stitches, it was too late, as the complaint states the unimaginable damage had already been done and the woman’s career as a professional opera singer was effectively finished.

Specifically, the complaint states that after her discharge from the military hospital, the woman began experiencing “extreme fecal urgency and incontinence,” as well as “excessive flatulence.”

Understandably frightened, the woman went in for a follow-up visit shortly, where she learned that the nurse-midwife’s attempt to repair the incision had failed and that the episiotomy was more than likely the cause of her horrific injuries.

From there, the complaint goes on to discuss how the woman visited a renowned colorectal surgeon who informed her that reconstructive surgery was likely her only option. However, the surgeon also indicated that the surgery might not prove to be 100 percent effective and may have to be performed several times over the course of her life. Furthermore, he stated that any subsequent births would have to be performed via cesarean section, an inherently dangerous procedure.

“She is suffering though a very embarrassing and very significant injury, and frankly, the prognosis of a fully successful repair is pretty low,” said her attorney.

As if all of this weren’t unfortunate enough, the lawsuit claims that these injuries have all but derailed the woman’s promising career as an opera singer, rendering her unable to perform as she once did.

The medical malpractice lawsuit, filed under the Federal Torts Claims Act, is seeking $2.5 million in damages covering everything from medical expenses and loss of income to embarrassment and pain and suffering.

“There seemed to be an assumption that they didn’t need to involve the patient in the decision making … and they were completely wrong, as a matter of law and social responsibility,” said her attorney. “The patient has a right to decide what’s done with her body.”

Stay tuned for further updates …

If a surgical error has caused you or a family member irreparable and devastating harm, consider speaking with an experienced legal professional to learn more about your options for securing the justice you need and deserve.

Source: The Military Times, “Lawsuit: Botched childbirth operation ruined Army wife’s opera career,” Joe Gould, Jan. 21, 2014; CBS News, “Opera singer sues claiming birth surgery led to career-ending flatulence,” Jan. 23, 2014

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