Family, Chicago facility reaches settlement over patient’s death

While performing surgery, Chicago doctors and other medical professionals present for the operation are required to follow a number of procedures in order to ensure the patient’s safety. This includes monitoring a patient’s vital signs, monitoring the incision site for an infection and carefully examining a patient to make sure that doctors did not mistakenly puncture an organ during the operation.

Failing to follow all required procedures during surgery could lead to surgical errors and cause patients to suffer numerous life-threatening injuries that should have been addressed and treated during and after an operation.

After suffering the death of loved one in 2007, a family sued the University of Illinois Medical Center for malpractice claiming that its staff failed to properly monitor their loved one during his surgery. Although the surgery was performed by using robotic technology, the family argued that doctors still had a responsibility to make sure that the operation was performed properly.

According to the lawsuit, the patient was scheduled to have his spleen removed in February 2007 at the Chicago facility. For the first time, the surgeon who had operated on the man used robotic equipment to remove the organ. Reports have not indicated what type of injury occurred during the operation, but the lawsuit argued that the injuries should have been caught and treated during the operation. Had staff noticed the mistake that was made during the surgery and treated the patient for his injuries, he would have had a better chance of surviving the surgery, the lawsuit argued.

Last month, the Chicago facility reached a multi-million dollar settlement with the family over the wrongful death of their loved one. Although the settlement was reached five years after the patient’s death, the man’s family may finally have some closure now after experiencing such a tragic event.

Source: Chicago Tribune, “U of Illinois signs off on $6 million settlement in robotic surgery death,” March 15, 2012

Surgical Errors


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