Surgeon and device maker accused of experimenting on patient

Sometimes surgeons may forget to disclose important information to Chicago patients. This is certainly a form of negligence. But are there some surgeons out there who intentionally conceal information from patients? One woman’s medical malpractice lawsuit alleges that her physician intentionally concealed information about her surgery because she was being used as an experiment.

The patient asserts that her surgeon used experimental putty during a 2008 back surgery as part of a research project. The woman was unaware she was part of the study, which involved testing medical material that had not yet been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Court papers say the patient developed excessive bone growth following the operation that required another surgery to remove the growth.

The manufacturer of the medical putty was initially the only defendant named in the lawsuit. The hospital and surgeon were later added and charged with negligence for allowing the experimental surgery to take place without the patient’s knowledge. This negligence denied the patient the right to choose a conventional surgery over the experimental surgery.

Hospital officials resisted when the patient’s attorney requested documents that could show the facility was aware of the experimental surgery. The maker of the surgical putty turned over information that revealed the hospital’s review board approved similar procedures on more than a dozen other patients since 2006.

The hospital is appealing a court ruling that ordered the facility to comply with the information request. Hospital officials contend that the facility acted appropriately and was not obligated to share confidential patient information.

The plaintiff is now disabled. She experiences severe pain after only sitting for 10 minutes now. The woman hopes to recover compensation for her debilitating injuries.

Source: San Gabriel Valley Tribune, “Suit says patient at Pomona Valley hospital underwent experimental procedure without her approval,” Monica Rodriguez, July 26, 2012

Surgical Errors


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