Actionable medical negligence in Massachusetts and other states occurs in several different areas of practice or procedure. One category of medical malpractice that occurs regularly is surgical error. A surgery that went horribly wrong appears to be the underlying basis of a recent jury verdict in another state of $2.5 million to the family of a deceased surgery victim.
In July 2012, doctors at the Saint Francis Medical Center attempted to conduct a laser procedure to remove a pacemaker from the patient, a 64-year-old man. The details of the carelessness are not described, but it is reported that the laser used by the physicians perforated the heart and blood vessels of the man. The man died from the abortive procedure while he was still in the Cath Lab of the hospital.
The plaintiff, consisting of the estate of the deceased patient, must prove that the doctors breached their legal duty to provide competent medical care and treatment under the circumstances. In most cases, this is done by presenting the expert testimony of an independent physician who is an expert in that particular field of medicine. Often, attorneys bring in experts who are associated with premier medical schools because of their relative independence and proclivity to speak the truth.
The jury reportedly deliberated for only one hour prior to entering its verdict. The proceeds will go to the immediate family of the deceased patient. Generally, such an award includes compensation for medical and burial expenses, along with loss of permanent earning capacity where applicable to the facts. The verdict will also include amounts for loss of consortium to a surviving widow and for any pain and suffering experienced by the patient. These damages areas are available in Massachusetts and nearly all states for medical malpractice claims involving the patient’s death.