Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.

Instruments not sterile for surgery

A Pennsylvania doctor who also is a medical researcher has been accused of supplying surgical instruments and devices that had not been sterilized. The doctor in question was the president of a surgical design firm, and he is accused of not having the proper controls in place to insure that such instruments were safe to be used during surgical procedures.

The instruments in question involved electric current that were used to cut, cauterize and destroy human tissue. Such instruments were frequently used during back surgeries.

Some of the doctor's co-workers are asking for leniency as the doctor is now facing a federal criminal indictment. He has been referred to as a "brilliant doctor," and one that has performed groundbreaking research in Pennsylvania and California.

Yet as in so many matters concerning medical malpractice, surgical errors did not occur because of a doctor's incompetence. Instead, what often happens is that doctors and hospitals take routine considerations for granted without implementing safety measures that would prevent errors from occurring.

Surgeons have been known to leave sponges or surgical tools inside of their patients. Anesthesia is administered without taking into account a patient's heart rate or blood pressure leading to not enough blood being pumped to the brain. There have even been surgical procedures performed where the wrong limb was amputated.

The above matter is somewhat more complex that the typical medical malpractice case in that it also contains an element of products liability theory as well. In any case, all such cases are complex and generally require the counsel of a well practiced medical malpractice attorney.

Source: Pennlive.com, "Former Hershey medical researcher charged in federal criminal case," by Matt Miller, May 15, 2012

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