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$6.8 million verdict reached in medical malpractice case

Performing surgeries on older patients can be risky as many Louisiana residents may already know. Even a common procedure with only minor or moderate risks for a younger patient can be especially dangerous for an older patient. This may be especially true if the doctor is using techniques or treatments that are considered to be outdated or dangerous. In a similar medical malpractice case, nearly $7 million was awarded to the family of a patient who died after undergoing hiatal hernia surgery.

The patient, a 67-year-old woman, originally underwent surgery to correct her hiatal hernia in 2013. This was a laparoscopic surgery, which is performed with long tools through a small incision. During this surgery, the doctor tightens an opening in the diaphragm in order to secure the stomach. The doctor did this using mesh and tacks to hold it in place, a procedure which the family's attorney argued was dangerous because the tacks could potentially come loose, reach the heart and puncture it. The attorney also suggested that this technique was out of date.

Unfortunately, two days after the surgery the patient did pass away. An autopsy revealed multiple marks on the patient's heart, which were interpreted differently by the attorneys. The family's attorney claimed that the marks were caused by the tacks puncturing the heart while the attorney representing the doctor and his assistant claimed that the marks were more "cleft-like" and were likely caused by the attempts to resuscitate the patient. Eventually, a jury determined that the doctor was at fault for the patient's death and awarded the family $6.8 million. 

Using out of date techniques can be incredibly dangerous, especially when the patient is older. Patients living in Louisiana who have been injured due to errors made by medical staff or negligence may wish to consult with an attorney about filing a medical malpractice lawsuit. These individuals, or their families if the patient is deceased, may be entitled to compensation for additional medical costs, loss of income, pain and suffering, and funeral costs when applicable. 

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