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Surgical error turns routine laminectomy into near fatality

On Behalf of | Sep 7, 2012 | Surgical Errors

A laminectomy is not an uncommon surgery. It typically involves the removal of a spinal disc, insertion of a polymer spacer or other type of disc, and the fusion of the nearby vertebrae with a titanium plate and a few screws. About 300,000 of them are done annually, many of them certainly in Massachusetts.

Testimony in a lawsuit has begun in which a man and his ex-wife are claiming that a surgical error during a bilateral lumbar laminectomy was a case of medical malpractice on the part of the surgeon as well as the nursing staff responsible for the man’s post-operative care.

The surgery in 2008 should have been routine, but apparently the surgeon cut too deeply and severed two major arteries. The patient was sewn up without noticing the bleeding.

After his surgery, his condition became critical and he was rushed in to emergency surgery. The iliac artery and the vena cava were repaired and massive blood loss occurred. Unfortunately, the patient needed two additional surgeries to correct the situation, has suffered permanent nerve damage, may need additional surgeries and the stress of the situation resulted in a divorce.

The medical malpractice lawsuit has two main allegations:

  • Negligent surgical technique which caused nerve damage and injury to the iliac artery and vena cava
  • Negligent post-operative care by nurses and other staff members which resulted in additional injury

The case is ongoing with testimony expected from several subject matter experts, surgeons, nurses and other staff.

Source: The New Mexican, “Surgical patient seeks damages for alleged malpractice,” Phaedra Haywood, Sept. 4, 2012

Our Massachusetts law firm handles surgical error cases and a wide variety of other medical malpractice cases.