Tragically, a 13 year old Oakland girl has been left brain dead after a tonsillectomy. Last week, the girl went to Children’s Hospital Oakland to get her tonsils removed. The next day, she was supposed to go home, but began bleeding heavily from her nose and mouth following the procedure. Shortly thereafter, she went into cardiac arrest.
Doctors have told her mother that she won’t recover, and reportedly have recommended that the girl be removed from life support. The child’s family is scheduled to meet with doctors this week and also wish to meet with hospital directors. The hospital has released a statement expressing sadness about the situation and has assured the public they are reviewing the case to determine what happened.
In some cases in which a surgery has a horrific outcome such as this, the medical professionals involved aren’t responsible. Complications could have arisen that were not anticipated. The patient may have had unknown health problems that couldn’t have been anticipated before the surgery which caused the surgery to be harmful. A patient’s body may not have responded as anticipated during surgery. The doctors, other medical professionals, or the hospital can’t be faulted in every case.
However, in many cases in which a patient is harmed during a surgery or other medical procedure, medical malpractice occurred. It’s hard to tell the exact numbers of medical malpractice incidents that occur, but it’s been estimated that hundreds of thousands of deaths occur in the U.S. each year because of medical malpractice.
In order to win a medical malpractice case, a plaintiff must show that the doctor, nurse, other medical professional or the hospital was negligent in providing medical care. The plaintiff must also show that the negligence caused injuries, and that the plaintiff suffered damages as a result. When surgeons operate on a patient, they are not required to be perfect. Instead, they are required to use the same skill that a surgeon of a similar specialty would use under the circumstances. If the surgeon fails to do so, and the patient is injured, that could be considered medical malpractice.
The circumstances of each medical malpractice case are different. For example, if the patient in this case came to an emergency room with severe throat problems, and the doctors removed her tonsils in an emergency surgery, the treatment may be different than a routine tonsillectomy that has been planned for months in advance.
If you or a family member believe you have a medical malpractice case, it’s important to consult with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney. You may have a strong case that medical malpractice has occurred. It may be tough or impossible to prove that medical malpractice has occurred. An experienced and knowledgeable medical malpractice attorney can review your medical records, consult with medical experts, and determine whether you were the victim of medical malpractice, or whether the poor medical outcome in your case was due to other factors beyond the doctor’s control.
If you’re in the Oakland-San Francisco area and you have suffered from complications from surgery, or another medical issue that you believe was the result of poor medical treatment, call Oakland medical malpractice attorney Micha Star Liberty at 510-645-1000 or 415-896-1000. She will help guide you through your case. She works with clients throughout the Oakland-San Francisco area. Call to learn more.