Surgical error results in brain damage

A major university hospital has settled a medical malpractice case for $1.25 million. The patient in question underwent surgery for testicular cancer, but the surgery become complicated due to a hemorrhage and cardiac failure that occurred while the surgery was ongoing. This has resulted in a brain injury so severe that the patient is now in a vegetative state.

Part of the settlement involved a lump sum to the family in the amount of $865,000. A trust has also been set up for another $385,000 that will provide periodic payments to the family.

Though this didn’t occur in the Pittsburgh area, the consequences of such an injury would be essentially the same. The attorney general’s office for that particular state released a statement that said: “Our client felt this was a fair and just settlement.” The treating medical center released a similar statement.

Though $1.25 million is a substantial amount of money, there is really nothing fair about what occurred. The money will provide for at least some of the care for the patient, but it will never fully compensate the patient or family for what did occur.

It’s difficult to imagine how such an injury would not devastate a family. The patient will likely require a lifetime of care, might never again be able to provide emotional or financial support for the family, and may never recover. And though not as obvious, the trauma for the family of this patient is likely indescribable.

We can’t afford for hospital’s to make such errors.

Source: The Columbus Dispatch, “OSU hospital pays $1.25 million settlement,” by Ben Sutherly, August 22, 2012