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

Lack of oxygen supply during surgery causes brain damage

A woman's family recently was awarded a $1.23 million verdict after the woman died of a brain injury caused by lack of oxygen provided during a surgical procedure. The defendants found liable included a doctor, an anesthesiologist and the anesthesiologist's employer.

Apparently the anesthesiologist failed to note that the breathing tube used to provide oxygen had relocated while general anesthesia was being administered. It was also asserted that the patient suffered from low blood pressure throughout the procedure, but nobody from the medical staff treated this condition. An autopsy conducted on the deceased woman failed to show any other possible cause for her death other than a lack of oxygen being supplied during surgery.

Probably no one would be too surprised at the size of the verdict seeing that the surgical staff was likely responsible for the woman's death. One attribute of many medical malpractice cases is that the injuries suffered by the victim are often severe or fatal. The administering of anesthesia is now so routine among hospitals that mistakes such as the one mentioned above should never occur.

Medical malpractice suits are difficult litigate and probably only about a quarter of such suits result in successful verdicts across Pennsylvania and the United States. This may be in part that many attorneys take on such suits without the experience of litigating such cases against large hospitals and medical insurance companies. This is not the same as saying that no medical malpractice actually took place.

The woman mentioned above was the mother of eight children. None of her children or other family members ever expected that she would die in this manner.

Source: Kalamazoo Gazette, "Lawton family awarded $1.23 million by Kalamazoo jury in medical malpractice lawsuit," by Lynn Turner, April 3, 2012

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