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Cook County medical center named in surgical error lawsuit

Chicago patients who undergo surgical procedures need to be thoroughly monitored before, during and after surgery. Complications from surgery cannot always be avoided, but doctors may be able to prevent complications from causing serious or fatal injuries when they detect and address any problems right away.

Unfortunately, when hospital workers and doctors deviate from the standard of care, surgical errors and post-surgical recovery errors might go unnoticed. When these mistakes go unnoticed for too long by nurses and doctors, patients’ health conditions may worsen very quickly to the point where it may be too late for medical professionals to do anything once they do finally notice that something is wrong.

A medical center in Cook County has recently been named in a medical malpractice lawsuit for failing to notice that one of its patients was suffering from complications after a surgical procedure. The hospital did not detect complications as soon as it should have, and as a result, the patient died.

The wrongful death lawsuit was filed last week by the victim’s family against a hospital in Oak Lawn. The lawsuit states that the patient, who was 61 years old, had undergone a surgery in 2005 to have a hernia repaired. Shortly after the surgery was performed, the patient said that he was experiencing some pain in his abdomen. The pain continued to get worse and the man started vomiting. Despite experiencing such severe health complications, a doctor was not notified of the problems soon enough by other hospital workers.

By the time the man’s symptoms were checked by a doctor, the man’s condition had worsened. The man suffered from inflammation of the colon. Before the surgery had been performed, the man was on antibiotics, which may have caused the inflammation. Since the man had taken antibiotics shortly before the procedure, the lawsuit claims that the surgeon should have known to reschedule the surgery for when the antibiotics would no longer be in the patient’s system.

The lawsuit claims that the hospital, the man’s surgeon and a physician’s assistant all contributed to the patient’s death because they all failed to properly monitor the patient before and after his hernia surgery.

Source: Chicago Tribune, “Lawsuit claims wrongful death when man died after surgery,” Ellen Jean Hirst, Feb. 7, 2013


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