It is often difficult for patients in Kentucky to understand all the legal jargon included in a consent form when they agree to surgical procedures. When a man in another state consented to a delicate surgery in a medical facility where his wife had been employed and knew the surgeons well, he believed he was in good hands. Unfortunately to their horror, his surgery did not go as planned, and he suffered many complications. Recently, a civil court jury agreed that the patient suffered undo negligence by the facility after evaluating the evidence presented in the couple's medical malpractice lawsuit.
As an anesthesiologist, the patient's wife knew the work of many of the surgeons and felt confident in advising her husband on his choice of surgeons. Due to the location of the man's abdominal tumor, part of his surgery included a stent placement in order to promote flow in the tiny tube that transports urine from the man's bladder to his urethra. She and her husband testified they were very clear about which surgeon they wanted to perform that piece of his surgery.
Despite their instructions, they discovered after his surgery their requested surgeon had not performed the delicate stent placement. Instead, a surgeon with less experience was sent in her place and without their consent. Unfortunately, the man's stent did not operate as intended, and urine backed up into his bladder. Due to the backup, it also caused severe damage to his urethra below the stent, requiring an additional surgery to repair it. The months of recovery and pain of the second surgery prevented him from working, being intimate with his wife or involved in other activities that he enjoyed.
The $8.5 million judgment awarded to the couple will help cover the multitude of unexpected medical costs and hopefully will ease some pain and suffering. Kentucky patients that suspect that they may be victims of medical malpractice can seek advice from an attorney about their litigation rights in civil court. The couple's attorney suspects the judge's ruling in their case regarding the wording in the surgical consent may open the door for other similar medical malpractice lawsuits and an evaluation regarding how surgeries are handled in the future.
Source: The Seattle Times, "Jury: Virginia Mason should pay couple $8.5M in disfigured-penis case", Bob Young and Mike Baker, April 7, 2017