Perhaps nothing is so tragic as a routine medical procedure that goes astray, resulting in serious or fatal patient injury. When such an event occurs, a medical malpractice attorney knows that some hard questions may need to be asked of the presiding doctor or surgeon. A recent case provides context.

The surgery was routine: a teenager had his wisdom teeth removed. Readers that have undergone that procedure likely responded to the procedure in a way similar to the boy, at least in the initial 48 hours following the surgery. Specifically, some post-operative pain and swelling is to be expected. 

The risk associated with wisdom teeth is so small that two other surgeons can’t recall a previous instance of a fatal reaction. For the moment, the teenager’s parents are still in shock, and dealing with the aftermath of the tragedy, including planning a ceremony that celebrates the young man’s life.

Although the grieving process may take months or even years, there is a statute of limitations in Massachusetts for bringing a medical malpractice lawsuit. In many cases, that period may be as short as three years after the cause of action accrued. For this reason, the surviving family might benefit from a consultation with a medical malpractice attorney. 

An attorney can work with a team of experts to investigate whether an injury or death resulted from medical negligence. For example, a doctor is expected to conduct a thorough patient intake, to screen for potential allergies or reactions to medications. A doctor’s duty of care also extends after a surgery, such as in monitoring a patient’s health and post-operative prognosis. 

Source: CBS Connecticut, “Teen Dies Days After Having Wisdom Teeth Removed,” Feb. 27, 2014