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New Orleans Medical Malpractice Law Blog

Malfunctioning technology can lead to surgical errors

Likely, any Louisiana resident who has undergone surgery of any sort has experienced at least a bit of nervousness beforehand. With any surgery comes the potential for a poor outcome, and sometimes doctors make mistakes, such as accessing the wrong site. Such was the case for a woman in another state who underwent an operation on her kidney and became the victim of what hospitals refer to as a "never event," a term that applies to surgical errors that should never occur if hospitals follow proper procedures. The patient filed a lawsuit in March of this year, suing the hospital for more than $20 million.

According to the claim, the woman was admitted to the hospital in 2017 after experiencing pain and fever. She was scheduled for surgery to insert a stent into her urinary system. Surgeons were supposed to thread the stent through the left side of her urinary system and into her left kidney, but instead they implanted it through to her right kidney.

Surgical procedures sometimes end tragically

Many Louisiana residents have undergone a cardiac procedure of some sort, or at least have seen a close friend or family member do so. Most people would agree that surgical procedures dealing with the heart can be very stressful for the patient, of course, but also for people witnessing their loved one go through such an experience. Many patients survive the ordeal, but unfortunately, a woman in another state died during open-heart surgery, and several members of her family have filed a lawsuit alleging negligence led to her death.

The 62-year-old woman underwent surgery in July, 2018. According to her family, she had the surgery to remove a device that had been placed in her heart in 2009 to correct a defect. The family alleges the surgeon inserted a line intended to collect blood into a vein connected to the woman's heart, but following surgery, he failed to close the line that was pumping her blood into a reservoir. Apparently, once the patient's heart was beating on its own, the perfusionist (the person operating the heart-lung machine) then placed the reservoir in a medical waste garbage can without noticing that the line was still open.

Woman sues pharmacy claiming medical malpractice led to death

Most Louisiana residents have had to visit a pharmacy to have a prescription filled, and in fact, some people requiring medication for a chronic condition do so regularly. Pharmacists must complete years of education and training in order to properly and safely perform their job duties, so clients should feel safe knowing they will receive the correct type and dosage of medication, along with appropriate instructions for use. However, occasionally, a prescription will be filled incorrectly, and when this happens, the patient's life may be in danger. As an example, a man in another state died when he was given a different medication than his doctor intended, and the executrix of his estate is now suing the pharmacy and medical team, accusing them of medical malpractice among other allegations.

In 2017, the man went to a pharmacy to have several prescriptions for anti-seizure medication filled. According to the lawsuit, the defendant gave the man the wrong medication, causing him to contract a fever leading to a bad reaction. Apparently, the man returned to the pharmacy, and the pharmacist advised him to stop taking the medication. However, the man still had to be admitted to the hospital, and he eventually died.

Medical malpractice lawsuit results in $3 million award

When a person undergoes any sort of medical test in Louisiana or elsewhere, unless told otherwise, he or she likely assumes the physician has recommended the test as a necessary and relatively safe diagnostic tool. Unfortunately, in the case of one woman from another state, this assumption proved inaccurate. The woman died a few days after attending what she thought was a routine doctor's appointment, and a jury recently awarded her daughter $3 million in a medical malpractice lawsuit against the hospital and the cardiologist who treated her. The award has since been reduced to $2.6 million, and the doctor was dropped from the suit.

In July 2014, the 61-year-old retired postal employee drove to her appointment with a heart specialist. She had been experiencing several medical problems, including shortness of breath. Based on the results of a stress test, the cardiologist decided to proceed with a cardiac catheterization and admitted the woman to the hospital. Reportedly, the test punctured her iliac artery, causing blood to leak into her lower abdomen, and doctors tried to repair the damage, first attempting to close the artery, then injecting a clotting agent. Three days later, she drove herself home from the hospital, although her daughter claims her chart indicated she was not doing well.

Lawsuit accuses fertility clinic of medical malpractice

Many Louisiana couples can relate to the concept of struggling to conceive a baby. In some cases, people in this situation will try various methods in their attempts to achieve pregnancy. Such was the case with a couple based in another state who pursued in vitro fertilization through a reputable fertility clinic. After the woman gave birth to two baby boys who were not related to either her or her husband, they filed a civil lawsuit accusing the clinic and its owners for medical malpractice.

Following the couple's marriage in 2012, they tried to conceive but were unsuccessful. The couple then tried various strategies in their attempts to start a family, but unfortunately, none helped them achieve their goal. According to the court filing, in 2017, they discovered the fertility clinic and carefully researched it, learning that its doctors had won accolades for their research and clinical work. Early in 2018, the couple traveled to the clinic and began protocol for undergoing in vitro fertilization. According to court records, ultimately, five embryos were frozen for preservation.

Birth injury lawsuit leads to $229.6M award

Researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine concluded that medical errors are the nation's third-largest cause of death. However, some medical errors that happen as a baby is coming into the world, rather than resulting in the patient's death, instead cause a birth injury leading to the patient's need for lifelong care. Typically, people in Louisiana and elsewhere who file medical malpractice lawsuits do so with the intent to cover the significant expenses involved following a preventable error. In a recent example, the family of a 4-year-old girl was awarded $229.6 million after the hospital at which she was born was found liable for brain damage she suffered during birth.

In Oct. 2014, the child's mother, only 25 weeks pregnant at the time, was admitted to the labor and delivery department of a hospital in another state. Doctors diagnosed her with dangerously high blood pressure caused by preeclampsia. According to the lawsuit, she was transported to a different hospital where doctors explained that her baby may die or suffer brain damage. The patient apparently did not feel she needed a cesarean section, and she delivered the baby vaginally two days later. At birth, the baby required a breathing tube and chest compressions, as she had no heart rate and wasn't breathing.

Former patients accuse psychiatrist of medical malpractice

Many Louisiana residents have likely experienced depression at one time or another, and for some people, sadly, this is a chronic condition that they struggle with throughout their lives. Many people seek the guidance of a professional to help them deal with this challenging disease, and anyone who has been in this type of situation can attest to the fact that trust is a crucial component of such a relationship. However, sometimes, a mental health professional cannot be trusted and may engage in questionable activities when dealing with patients. This seems to be what happened when three women filed medical malpractice lawsuits against a prominent psychiatrist in another state.

The psychiatrist had been treating the three women for depression. The women accused the man of drawing them into demeaning sexual relationships during their treatment and alleged that he was preying on vulnerable patients. According to the lawsuits, the women had each traveled from a different state to receive treatment from the 57-year-old psychiatrist. They claimed he had given them Ketamine (an anaesthetic) as part of their treatment. Each of the women also said that her professional relationship with the man eventually became sexual and that their encounters sometimes involved him beating her with a belt.

Incorrectly inserted catheter may have caused patient injuries

Many Louisiana residents know the fun and freedom that can come with retirement. Retirees finally have time to indulge in hobbies, travel and leisure activities, and everyone hopes to remain relatively healthy to allow them to continue enjoying themselves well into old age. Unfortunately, all too often, a senior's golden years are interrupted by a medical emergency, and sometimes, during the course of treatment, medical professionals cause unnecessary patient injuries.

In a recent example, an 85-year-old man and his wife boarded a cruise ship. The man had been using a catheter and urinary drainage bag for the previous five months. One morning, he had trouble reinserting the catheter and visited the medical bay, but after the ship's doctor inserted the device, blood appeared in the bag. Figuring the man must have blood in his urine, the doctor told him to come back later in the day 

Wire left in man's body cause for medical malpractice lawsuit

Some Louisiana residents know what it is like to experience heart trouble and then the procedure or surgery to correct the problem. The heart is a major organ, so most heart patients likely feel a great deal of anxiety about undergoing the process required to repair the damage and worry about their future well-being following whatever treatment they have had to endure. People in this situation are undoubtedly happy once the process is completed and their lives can return to some semblance of normality. Unfortunately, 10 years after undergoing an angiogram procedure, a man in another state discovered a 57-inch metal wire running through his body, and following the discovery, he filed a medical malpractice lawsuit.

The now 70-year-old man underwent the angioplasty procedure in 2005 after doctors told him he had congestive heart failure. The procedure requires a catheter to be inserted through the bloodstream, and a metal wire is used to keep the catheter stiff. In this man's case, allegedly, when the catheter was removed, the wire was not. The patient was not aware of the wire in his body until he visited another doctor in 2015 and an X-ray revealed it running from his chest to his thigh. During another surgery one year ago, doctors removed much of the wire, but more than 20 inches of it remains in his body.

Hospital negligence may have led to woman's death during detox

As most Louisiana residents likely understand, people are complicated, and each person may react differently to a challenging situation, such as a death in the family. Unfortunately, some people turn to dangerous substances to help them deal with their grief. Recently, a woman in another state was admitted to a hospital and addiction center after she experienced a heroin addiction relapse. In what appears to be a matter of hospital negligence, sadly, the woman died at the center shortly after beginning treatment.

The woman had turned to heroin as a coping mechanism following her brother's suicide six years ago. At one point, she was rushed to a hospital and underwent detox; although she recovered then, eventually, the 30-year-old woman relapsed and was again admitted to a local hospital and addiction center, where she began detox treatment. She made it through the initial 72-hour period, but on a recent Saturday, her mother worried as she hadn't received an expected phone call from her daughter. The mother called the hospital and was told staff were having difficulty getting her daughter to eat and drink. The following morning a hospital administrator called to tell her that her daughter had passed away during the night.

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