Most responsible physicians carry medical malpractice insurance to protect their patients when they are injured due to a negligent mistake. In this sad case, the surgeon made a calculated risk to avoid the cost of insurance premiums by going “bare,” without any insurance. However, he calculated wrong because this didn’t stop me from suing him and the hospital that let him practice without malpractice insurance.
Mr. H and his wife would have celebrated their marriage of 28 years. Instead, Ms. H passed away in a hospital intensive care unit after battling an infection that had spread throughout her body. Twenty days before her death, the defendant surgeon had performed surgery on Ms. H’s colon to remove a cancerous mass. Almost immediately after the surgery, she was showing signs and symptoms of infection. Within 18 hours of the surgery, the hospital had to call a rapid response team. This patient was then transferred to the intensive care unit. Although it was clear to everyone that she was getting sicker each day, the surgeon did not take his patient back to surgery for ten days. When he did, the patient’s abdomen was septic and full of puss. He removed 3 liters of purulent fluid. The source of the infection was the site of the surgery. Unfortunately, by this time the infection had spread throughout Ms. H’s body. Then days later, she died as a result of her septic condition.
The negligence here was inexcusable medical malpractice. The patient was known to have a weakened immune system as a result of taking interferon medications for hepatitis C. This also placed her at a higher risk for a leak at the site of the surgery. Because there was literally no excuse for the doctor to ignore this, I asserted claims against the hospital nursing staff for standing by and watching this negligent treatment. Under well-recognized standards of care, a nurse must alert the hospital management if they see a doctor engaged in the negligent treatment of a patient.
After I filed a wrongful death lawsuit against this uninsured doctor, the hospital and the doctor both agreed to early mediation. The hospital and the doctor each paid a settlement to Mr. C. The settlement, like all settlements for medical malpractice, is confidential and cannot be disclosed.