Although nothing can ever be done to bring their teenage daughter back, one family is feeling a small amount of relief after a settlement was reached with the oral surgeon they claim committed medical malpractice.
Teenager Dies During Oral Surgery
Nearly 85 perfect of all Americans need to have their wisdom teeth removed at some point in their lives and often, dentists and the oral surgeons they work with recommend the removal take place during the patient’s teenage years before the teeth cause complications.
That’s exactly what was recommended for a 17-year-old girl and she and her parents decided to move forward with the surgery. But while she was under anesthesia, something went terribly wrong.
The teen went into cardiac arrest and which then deprived her brain of oxygen. She died during the middle of the surgery.
An autopsy was performed which determined that although the exact cause of death wasn’t found, a mistake made with the medication and anesthesia being administered during the surgery couldn’t be ruled out. Not only after her death, the Board of Dentistry temporarily suspended the surgeon’s license and he was only able to return to work when he had met certain conditions.
Family Sues Oral Surgeon For Medical Malpractice
Her devastated parents chose to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the oral surgeon, alleging that he had inappropriately administered anesthesia, had failed to monitor her during surgery, did not have a plan in case an emergency happened and did not respond quickly enough or correctly to her medical emergency.
Ultimately, the family settled for just over $2 million.
New York & Medical Malpractice
Sadly, the state of New York alone accounts for nearly 20% of all medical malpractice cases throughout the country. But what exactly is medical malpractice?
Medical malpractice occurs when a medical professional deviates from the accepted standard of care for a specific patient. The standard of care changes from patient to patient due to differences in height, weight, sex, diet, and other medical conditions.
Examples of medical malpractice include:
- Surgical mistakes: Performing surgery on the wrong body part or performing the incorrect surgery on a patient.
- Pharmaceutical mistakes: Prescription errors like filling a bottle with the wrong medication or the incorrect dosage.
- Birth Injuries: Failing to monitor labor resulting in harm to the mother or the child.
- Misdiagnosis: If a patient is diagnosed with the wrong condition, not only will the actual condition be allowed to progress, but they may be harmed by taking the wrong drugs or by receiving the wrong treatment.
As in the above case, the mistakes made can literally cost the patient their life, leaving behind a family who is shocked and grieving.
What Can Be Gained From Filing A Lawsuit?
A medical malpractice lawsuit can provide a plaintiff with compensation for their losses, which might include:
- Medical Expenses
- Lost Wages
- Physical Trauma
- Emotional Distress
- Funeral & Burial Expenses
- Loss Of Consortium
Typically the plaintiffs are either the patient or if the patient died because of the medical malpractice, their loved ones including spouses, children, or parents. The total amount that may be gained will vary from case to case since no two cases or patients are exactly the same.
Can I Only File A Lawsuit Against A Doctor?
No! All medical professionals are required to do everything in their power to ensure their patients get the best care possible. This means that nurses, physical therapists, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, other medical professionals, and even hospitals may face a med mal lawsuit if they make a mistake.
What If I Was Hurt By A Medical Device?
Sometimes it’s not the person treating a patient but the device they use which causes the patient harm. If a defective device results in harm to a patient, the victim may be able to pursue a defective product lawsuit against the manufacturer, designer, or seller of that product. Under the law, these parties are responsible for making sure that the product they sell is safe for use and if they fail to do so, can be held legally liable.