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

Preventable error results in loss of leg

A physician that is also a writer claims to have spent the last twenty years investigating why preventable medical mistakes occur. He also found himself victim to such an error. This individual claims to have experienced a sudden pain to the lower left leg, and two months later he had that same leg amputated below the knee.

The physician believes that the lack of blood flow to the lower leg that caused the amputation may have been due to a pressurized cuff placed on the leg during an earlier procedure that ended up damaging the arteries to the leg. This eventually led to all blood flow to the lower leg being blocked.

He is now of the opinion that he lost his leg due to a preventable error. He continues to suffer pain, and he now has to walk with the aid of a prosthetic limb. Currently, he is unable to perform his duties as a physician.

There apparently is no exact figure in place that lets us know how many preventable errors actually do occur. One study conducted more than 10 years ago estimated the number of deaths due to preventable errors to be between 44,000 to 98,000 annually.

According to this physician, what is most disturbing is that the number of preventable errors does not seem to have been reduced over time. Checklists and communication between caregivers appears key to reducing this problem.

Medical malpractice cases often concern very simple mistakes, yet these mistakes have huge consequences. If you or a family member has been injured due to a medical error, please consider consulting with an attorney that works in the medical malpractice area.

Medical malpractice verdicts and settlements often bring about needed changes in hospitals.

Source: The New York Times, "Losing My Leg to a Medical Error," by Frederick S. Southwick, Feb. 19, 2013

  • For Pennsylvania readers interested in more information regarding surgical errors and other medical mistakes, please visit our Pittsburgh lawyers' website.

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Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.
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Pittsburgh, PA 15222

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