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Medical malpractice case heads to Louisiana Supreme Court

Last week we addressed the possibility that not every claim of medical malpractice brought in Louisiana will result in an immediate favorable outcome for the plaintiff, and that sometimes appeals to the state's appellate courts may be necessary to persevere. A case that is now on its way to the Louisiana Supreme Court offers a timely example of how this concept can apply in actuality.

A Louisiana man underwent gall bladder surgery in 2010, during which he alleged in a subsequent legal complaint the surgeon performing the operation mistakenly severed the patient's bile duct while mistaking it for the cystic duct. The patient claimed that the error led to liver damage and required additional surgery to correct, and sued.

The state's medical review board found against the patient, as the trial court did subsequently. The patient appealed the trial court decision to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which also held in favor of the defendant surgeon. Now, the case is on its way to the Supreme Court for a final decision.

During the trial and appeal to this point, it is worth noting that the courts have considered issues that can come up in many cases of medical malpractice, including the appropriate standard of care and whether a foreseeable injury can be the basis for a medical malpractice claim. Also noteworthy in this case is the advisability for attorneys at trial to object to behavior on the part of the trial court judge and others to raise timely objections to preserve the issues for appeal, and the length of time -- in this instance, five years and counting -- that it can take for a civil appeal to make its way completely through the legal system.

Medical malpractice actions can and sometimes do require both plaintiffs and their attorneys to be both patient and persistent in their pursuit of recompense for injuries they claim resulted from a doctor or surgeon's mistake. Having experienced legal counsel that is well-versed in Louisiana medical malpractice law can help to improve the chances of prevailing on such a legal claim, no matter how long it may take to finally resolve.

Source: Houma Today, "State Supreme Court to hear Houma case in January," Brett Barrouquere, Dec. 14, 2015

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