My clients’ wife, JW, was admitted to her local hospital for surgical correction of a hernia that had wrapped around her bowel, causing an obstruction. The operation was considered routine, and she was expected to remain in the hospital for only a few days.
On the day of the surgery, the surgeon wrote a note indicating that he would be operating to correct a strangulated hernia, a procedure that requires general anesthesia. He and the anesthesiologist never spoke before the surgery, and the anesthesiologist, believing that the patient had only a simple hernia, prepared her with spinal anesthesia. When the surgeon saw that the wrong type of anesthesia had been administered, he could not locate the anesthesiologist, so began the operation, believing he could complete the surgery before the spinal anesthesia wore off.
The surgeon lost the race. In the middle of surgery, the spinal anesthetic began to wear off and the surgeon ordered the anesthesiologist – now in the operating room – to administer general anesthesia by mask. The anesthesiologist, who may have panicked, neglected to empty JW’s stomach with a nasogastric tube and protect her airway with a cuffed endotracheal tube, before she administered the general anesthesia. As a result, JW vomited feculent material into her lungs. Despite being airlifted to one of the best hospitals in Massachusetts for treatment, she died of severe inflammation to her lungs causing respiratory collapse.
The case settled shortly after completion of a two-day mediation.
DISCLAIMER: Please note that every case is different and these verdicts and settlements, while accurate, do not represent what we may obtain for you in your case.