A wrongful death action was filed in northern Virginia recently, the result of a medical malpractice claim against a Cleveland, Ohio doctor licensed to practice medicine in Virginia. A Fredericks County family accuses the doctor of failure to diagnose and other medical mistakes arising from his treatment of a patient at Winchester Medical Center on June 3. The patient died from heart surgery complications after the doctor was said to have failed to diagnose the patient's condition and also failed to follow medically acceptable procedures under the circumstances.
A heart catheterization was performed on the patient on June 2, after which it was decided the man would undergo elective coronary artery bypass grafting. However, the patient suffered an injury to his right femoral artery during the catheterization which caused hemorrhaging; considered a known risk and potential complication of that procedure. Nevertheless, the doctor elected to proceed with the bypass grafting without repairing the damage prior to the commencement of the grafting procedure. The blood-thinning medication necessary for the bypass was said to cause the patient's bleeding to increase, ultimately causing his death.
The lawsuit seeks $2 million in damages for the victim's three sons and will now proceed through the court system.
A wrongful death is generally defined as a death that was caused by the negligent or intentional act of another. While it remains to be seen what the result of this claim will be, it underscores the risk that patient's take in relying on doctors and surgeons to treat their problems with a reasonable degree of medical care. Families who believe a loved one lost their life as a result of medical malpractice would do well to ensure a proper investigation of all of the facts and circumstances as well as to make certain important and relevant evidence is preserved to allow a fair and impartial review.
Source: The Northern Virginia Daily, "Doctor named in wrongful death suit," Alex Bridges, Nov. 23, 2011