Massachusetts patients may have learned that, on Jan. 15, it was reported that a 72-year-old man, who was undergoing heart surgery, developed severe brain damage when the physician left the operating table in order to attend a luncheon. The physician’s assistant, who was not qualified to close the man’s chest cavity, called the physician back after complications caused the man’s heart to stop beating.

The incident allegedly began on March 30, 2012. A family member, who was the man’s stepson, received a call stating that the man needed to be taken to the emergency room due to chest pains. They learned shortly after that the man had a calcified heart valve and an aortic aneurism, which would require surgery. On April 2, 2012, he underwent surgery at Fresno Community Regional Medical Center.

The stepson stated that he was sitting in a private waiting room when the physician told him that the surgery was a success. In a later update, the stepson stated that he was told that his stepfather was having complications. These complications eventually caused him to enter into a vegetative state. An anonymous phone call from a nurse present at the operating room later revealed that the cause of the stepfather’s condition was due to the doctor’s departure before the surgery was completed.

In this case, the family of the patient has decided to file a lawsuit against the physician and the hospital for the surgical errors and malpractice that occurred. Because the physician may not have followed all of the proper procedures during the surgery, the family may be able to seek compensation for unnecessary medical costs, loss of companionship and more.

Source: ABC , “Man Left Brain Damaged After Doctor Allegedly Abandons Man’s Open-Heart Surgery“, Sydney Lupkin, January 13, 2014