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A recent jury verdict in a surgical malpractice case is making headlines for its size. The $3.7 million award was handed down to a plaintiff who suffered from a surgical complication after a procedure to install an abscess drain.
Apparently, during the surgery, a bile duct was clamped shut, but was not noticed for days. The plaintiff was discharged after the surgery, then promptly complained of pain, fever, and the fact that the abscess drain didn’t seem to be working. Despite his complaints, it took two days before the surgeon recommended he get an emergency surgery to correct the mistake. Years later, his case went to trial and he won big.
While many people will look at the big monetary award and wonder if the plaintiff should receive such a large sum, it is often overlooked that large verdicts correspond to large injuries, which don’t always correspond to big accidents.
Sure, in a short summary or report about any given case with a big verdict, it might seem like there isn’t much to it, but big verdicts that are not supported by actual monetary losses and significant pain and suffering are exceedingly rare. In the surgical malpractice case discussed above, the plaintiff had to undergo a second surgery, and suffered permanent damage to other organs. One often overlooked cost to injury plaintiffs is the cost of future medical care.
Not all complications or mistakes made during surgery rise to the level of surgical malpractice. Simply put, surgery is surgery. There are inherent risks, things can go wrong, and only mistakes that are due to negligence, or failing to act in conformance with the standard of care (what other reasonable surgeons in the community would do) qualify for a malpractice claim.
Additionally, surgical and medical malpractice claims are often subject to specific rules under state law, including rules that govern how and when a case can be filed. It is a confusing area of the law and anyone that believes they have a medical or surgical malpractice claim should discuss their concerns with an experienced personal injury or medical malpractice attorney.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.
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