Incomplete Surgery Results in Recurrence of Cancer and Death
The husband of Pennsylvania woman and her children were recently awarded $2.36 million dollars in a medical negligence lawsuit in which they alleged that their wife/mother's gynecologist negligently performed a total abdominal hysterectomy, resulting in the recurrence of ovarian cancer and ultimately the woman's death. Plaintiffs alleged that in the months leading up the failed surgery, the decedent had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer following exploratory surgery. Her gynecologist scheduled her for a total abdominal hysterectomy with bilateral removal of the ovaries and fallopian tubes. During the procedure, however, the surgeon negligently ruptured the cancerous cyst, allowing the cancer cells to infiltrate the pelvic region. Post-operatively, the hospital pathologist discovered that the specimens that were removed from the decedent during the surgery did not contain the woman's left ovary or fallopian tube. The surgeon never informed the decedent of this mistake during subsequent office visits. Less than one year later, the decedent's cancer returned to her pelvis and metastasized to her lungs, liver and other organs. She died shortly thereafter, leaving her husband and children behind.
In Maryland, as in other states, physicians have an obligation to accurately document their patients' charts and to communicate with them any errors that were made during procedures. In the above case, the Pennsylvania physician was clearly negligent in failing to properly document in the woman's chart the fact that he had not properly performed the total hysterectomy. Following any procedure in which a body part is removed, that body part is sent to the pathology department for review and analysis. To the extent that a total hysterectomy was allegedly performed, the pathologist will look to ensure that all aspects of the uterus were removed. In this instance, the pathologist surely noted in his report that the left ovary and fallopian tube were not removed. This would have alerted the Pennsylvania health care provider that he/she had done something erroneous. The physician's failure to either review the pathology report and/or report this fact to the patient, constituted negligence and/or a blatant attempt to cover up the negligence.
At STSW, our lawyers routinely handle cases involving failed surgeries / improper removal of organs / missed diagnoses and physician cover ups. If you or a loved one have been victimized in such a fashion in the Baltimore or Washington D.C. area, call our legal team for a free consultation at (410) 385-2225 or visit our website to set up your free consultation. Our team routinely handles cases involving local hospitals including but not limited to Sinai Hospital, University of Maryland Medical System, Johns Hopkins Hospital, St. Agnes Hospital, Washington Hospital Center, Frederick Memorial Hospital, Anne Arundel Medical Center, Howard County General Hospital, Upper Chesapeake Medical Center, Harbor Hospital, Northwest Hospital, and Bon Secours Hospital. In cases of alleged physician cover-ups, the medical records must be reviewed with a trained eye (including in some instances hand writing experts) to determine whether or not the records have been tampered with in an effort to obscure the truth about what happened.