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Georgia doctor allegedly rushed surgery, sued for wrongful death

Surgery always carries risks, but it’s truly a tragedy when a doctor tries to save time or cut corners during surgery, and a patient is injured as a result. These types of surgical accidents are preventable, and injured patients or their family members often view them as inexcusable.

The family of a 67-year-old woman filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the woman’s surgeon and Georgia Surgical Associates PC, after they allege the doctor’s rushed schedule caused the woman’s death.

In July 2010, the woman underwent a laparoscopic cholecystectomy at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Atlanta. The doctor encountered extensive scar tissue that would have complicated the procedure, so he decided to perform open surgery instead. The doctor failed to insert a Veress needle that is usually inserted for proper visualization, and inserted a trocar that caused the woman’s fatal vein injury.

A defense expert said it was extremely rare for surgeons not to insert a Veress needle before using the trocar, but insisted the doctor hadn’t deviated from his standard of care. The doctor himself admitted he chose a different path from his usual standard procedure. The suit was settled for $1,050,000.

Certain procedures are considered standard for surgeries to keep patients safe from this type of scenario. It’s a tragedy when a doctor makes the decision to forgo a safety standard for any reason, resulting in the injury or loss of a loved one. For this reason, anyone can understand why the victim’s family decided to file a medical malpractice suit.

Source: Outpatient Surgery, “Did Rushing Cause This Fatal Surgical Error?” Dan O’Connor, May 21, 2013

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