Cardiac Surgery Complications: When They Become Negligence

by David Zevan on Feb. 19, 2014

Accident & Injury Medical Malpractice Accident & Injury Accident & Injury  Wrongful Death 

Summary: All surgery comes with a certain level of risk, and to protect himself from lawsuits, your surgeon will go over these risks in depth with you and have you sign an informed consent before proceeding. This is just one small part of the duty of care he is obligated to provide as your physician.

With cardiac surgery being so common, it is unimaginable that any surgeon would still make errors in judgment during them.  In many cases it is the number of surgeries he has performed that will make a surgeon feel like he is incapable of making a mistake.  This type of self-confidence could have serious consequences on his patient’s health.  If you believe you were injured further during a cardiac procedure you should bring the details to the attention of a qualified Missouri medical malpractice attorney.  Their own experience in these matters can help you decide if negligence was the cause and if you are entitled to compensation.

Heart Surgery Complications

Heart surgery is meant to save a life, but any deviation from the standard of care can have devastating consequences.  During any type of open heart procedure further damage to the heart tissue is avoided by applying a special surgical solution to the organ at regular intervals.  If this solution is not replaced frequently the tissue damage that will ensue can cause the heart to shut down.  If your cardiologist told you that you went into heart failure during the procedure, it is your right to know why.  Have a medical malpractice attorney go over your medical records in detail to make sure that critical step was not overlooked.  If it was, then a major breach was made in your care and you should be compensated for that.

Another risk associated with cardiac surgery comes from the actual opening of the chest cavity.  The rib cab and sternum are all meant to protect the organ, but will typically need to be spread in order to gain access to it.  Your after care should include ensuring that this secondary injury is healing properly.  Sometimes the sternum needs extra help and a second procedure will be ordered to fixate the pieces back together.  If it does not heal properly, a patient will endure shortness of breath and chronic pain in the area.  

There is a Missouri case that actually went all the way to the State Supreme Court revolving around this risk.  The plaintiff in this case had a sternum that was not healing properly.  His cardiac surgeon failed to recognize this.  Medical experts called in to testify admitted that the normal standard of care would have been to repair the sternum with rigid fixation, which never happened here.  A Missouri jury found in favor for the plaintiff and awarded him $417,500.

St. Louis Surgical Error Lawyers

It is important to listen carefully to the risks that are outlined before a surgery before signing consent.  It is also important that you question any side effect that was not mentioned at the time.  If you believe you suffered further harm by a negligent cardiac surgeon as a Missouri medical malpractice attorney if your case warrants looking into.

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