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Lawsuit: cocaine use and surgery certainly do not mix

In 2008, a man was admitted to a treatment program for his suspected use of cocaine. The argument can be made that drug use such as his affects not only the user, but those in the individual's life as well. A lawsuit claims that for this man, that argument couldn't have been truer, because this man was a surgical resident.

The lawsuit was filed in late January by a patient that said he was injured as a result of this alleged drug use. The patient claimed that the surgeon not only chose to perform an unnecessary surgical procedure on him in 2011, but that he also operated on the wrong body part.

The patient alleged that the surgeon as well as the Hospital were negligent. The lawsuit alleges that other members of the Hospital staff had "witnessed a startling lack of surgical skill by [the surgeon] resulting in blood loss, malpositioning of hardware, misuse of hardware, and other complications."

The lawsuit alleges that the Hospital should have been aware of the issue as a result of staff observations, and that the hospital mishandled actual knowledge of the drug use.  The plaintiff claims in the suit that the surgeon harmed him and other patients over a nine-month stretch in 2011 and 2012. Specifically the lawsuit alleges that the surgeon performed an "unnecessary surgery" on the plaintiff and operated on the wrong body part, the suit claims. Another patient bled to death, and another was rendered a quadriplegic, the suit alleges. 

This case is an unfortunate example of how the human element plays an important role in cases of medical malpractice.

Source: Dallas Business Journal, "Lawsuit claims Baylor let cocaine-using surgeon botch operations," Bill Hethcock, Jan. 31, 2014

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