There are a number of reasons people fear having surgery. It can be frightening to go under anesthesia or know that a doctor will be operating on you. Patients put a lot of trust in their physician to care for their needs, both during and after the procedure. In the event of infections or other complications following a surgery, a doctor should closely monitor and treat each situation accordingly. Failure to do so can have deadly consequences, as some Massachusetts families have learned.
At least eight patients or their families have sued a Massachusetts obesity surgeon over the last 13 years, claiming he was negligent in his responsibility for his patients. One deadly case led to an investigation and suspension from a Massachusetts health system. In this particular case, a 45-year-old man had been suffering from sleep apnea, which is commonly associated with being overweight. He opted for gastric bypass surgery, after which his wife said he was in terrible pain. The man died of sepsis – a major infection – several days after the procedure.
According to the Board of Registration in Medicine’s statement of allegations, the surgeon failed to promptly investigate the patient’s situation, looking for a leak or bleeding at the surgery site. The hospital where this incident occurred later suspended the doctor, but he went on operating at another location. This points to a flaw in the healthcare system, as hospitals nor the medical board routinely alerts other professionals regarding disciplinary actions.
Nearly a year and a half after the death of the 45-year-old man, the medical board has now suspended the doctor’s license. The board charges that he did not treat post-surgery complications as he should have in four instances – two of which resulted in death. Medical malpractice is a serious issue that can cause grave consequences. Victims and their families should pursue their right to compensation to the fullest extent, and an attorney can help ensure they build a strong case to get everything they deserve.
Source: Boston Globe, “Mass. Obesity surgeon’s license suspended,” Liz Kowalczyk, “Oct. 27, 2013