Medical negligence verdict handed down by Kentucky jury

Having gastric bypass surgery to help you lose weight means accepting certain risks associated with the surgery. Patients do, however, have the right to expect that the surgeon caring for them will do everything possible to avoid those risks. One recent medical malpractice case in Kentucky raises serious questions about the care and marketing of these procedures.

A jury returned a verdict late on March 25 against the Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital in connection with the death of a woman that occurred on Jan. 13, 2010. Jurors had to decide if the hospital negligently marketed the bariatric program. It also had to decide if the hospital was negligent in allowing a surgeon with questionable complication rates to continue operating. It was also asked to determine if the consumer protection laws in Kentucky were violated by the hospital. Finally, it was asked to determine if the surgeon was negligent in his care of the woman who died.

The woman had a gastric bypass surgery on Dec. 17, 2009. After this surgery, the woman had a tachycardic heart rate and fever. She reported severe pain. She was moved to intensive care. A gastric leak was discovered. She had a second surgery on Dec. 20, 2009 to repair an abdominal leak. She was placed on a ventilator on Christmas Day. She had high blood pressure that wasn't being controlled by the medications she was being given. She was discharged from the hospital on Jan. 8, 2010. She died on Jan. 13, 2010.

It was determined that 28 percent to 31 percent of the patients who had surgery at the hands of the doctor who operated on the woman suffered a reportable complication.

The jury in this case handed down a $10.6 million verdict against the hospital and surgeon. They determined the hospital was 60 percent at fault, and the doctor was 40 percent at fault. If the judge signs off on the verdict, the hospital will have to pay $6,394,959 and the doctor, who has filed for bankruptcy, will have to pay $4,263,306.

Anyone who has been injured by surgical errors or negligent care might have the right to seek compensation for those injuries. No one should have to suffer because of a doctor's negligence. Personal injury attorney help those who are injured pursue compensation for a variety of claims, including pain and suffering, emotional distress and other damages.

Source: The McReary Record, "WEB SPECIAL: $10.6 million judgment returned in medical malpractice lawsuit" Heather Tomlinson, Associated Press, Apr. 01, 2014

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