When serious complications arise from surgery, many who sue for malpractice focus on the physician who performed the procedure. However, there are times when the resulting problems lay not with the physician, but with the lack of medically necessary steps that a hospital neglects to take in order to resolve the patient’s health problems. Those in New Mexico may be interested in a recent large settlement awarded to a man after a jury determined hospital negligence.
The original surgery occurred in January 2012 when a 52-year-old man sought treatment at a local hospital in order to repair an irregular connection between his urinary bladder and his colon. This condition is known by the medical term colovesical fistula. His surgeon also performed a follow-up procedure within the same month, removing six inches of the patient’s colon and surgically stapled it back together.
After the surgeries, the patient continued to experience pain and was finally re-admitted to the hospital in late March 2012, complaining of severe abdominal pain. Once re-admitted, the staff at the hospital waited over 12 hours to inform the patient’s original surgeon of his condition. When the surgeon arrived and performed exploratory surgery, the physician determined that the patient’s colon was perforated and fluids were seeping into his abdomen.
At this point, the patient was flown to a Level 1 hospital, where physicians had to perform seven surgeries to eradicate the infections and clear the fecal matter that had gathered in his abdominal cavity. Though his life was miraculously saved by these measures, the severe bodily reaction to infection (septic shock) had caused gangrene in both feet and cut off blood flow to his legs. As a result, physicians were forced to amputate both of his legs at mid-calf.
Jurors found hospital negligence to be responsible for the tragic events that required the amputation of the patient’s limbs, due to the lapse of time before consulting the man’s surgeon. Those in New Mexico who have experienced a similar situation could greatly benefit from consulting with an attorney experienced in medical malpractice litigation. An attorney in this area of law will be able to discuss the various legal options available to receive financial and other reparations after such a tragic event.