We go to the hospital when we are sick and expect that we will receive the proper treatment and care. We trust that our doctors and other healthcare professionals will act in our best interests and keep us safe and fully informed about our own medical condition. But what happens when that trust is discarded or ignored out of fear or negligence, and potentially endangers the life of a patient?
Such was the case of a regular and longtime patient of Parkland Memorial Hospital. This woman who was suffering from severe heart problems related to her diabetes, once again placed her trust and care in Parkland Memorial Hospital. By all accounts, the patient had life-saving heart surgery and made a full recovery. For the next seven years, this patient was then seen and examined at the hospital during various appointments and check-ups which included getting 22 separate chest X-rays without incident. But despite the allegation that a foreign object in the patient’s heart was clearly visible in numerous X-rays since 2007, no one from Parkland Memorial Hospital thought to inform or disclose this information to the patient herself.
In 2012, doctor’s notes in the medical records indicated that doctors decided to leave the foreign object in place, but again, never discussed any of this with the patient. Finally in 2014, the patient was informed that something was mistakenly left in her aorta when she had surgery seven years ago. The patient was under the impression that “something” was a stent intentionally placed in her aorta to assist the blood flow to her heart or at least that’s what she was told in a previous hospital visit. But instead, that “something” turned out to be a part of a broken catheter tube that was used in her surgery so many years ago and was never intended to be left inside of her body. The patient is still being evaluated to see whether the catheter can be removed from her heart without causing further damage or death.
In the medical field, it is certainly understandable that mistakes will happen from time to time, but to cover up a mistake or ignore the obvious dangers for seven years, all to the potential detriment of a patient’s health and life, is considered by most to be unforgivable and unethical. The patient cannot be expected to make an informed healthcare decision if the medical institution and health care providers she trusted so thoroughly failed to disclose such critical information when treating her. As a result of this, the patient filed a lawsuit against Parkland Memorial Hospital seeking monetary damages for medical malpractice. At the time that this article was first reported, the hospital was denying any wrongdoing and was disputing the patient’s allegations. But in cases such as these, if it can be shown that the hospital violated the reasonable medical standard of medical care, not to mention ethical disclosure norms, then a court of law would be expected to ultimately rule in her favor.
Medical events in which a foreign object such as a sponge, a tube or a medical instrument are left inside the body are considered “never events”, because such a thing should never ever happen to any patient. Modern surgical procedures have many checks and balances specifically intended to prevent the retention of any such foreign objects. During every surgery, especially during invasive heart surgery, it is the particular job of a medical staff member to count all the sponges, gauze pads, instruments, catheter tubes, etc., to ensure such surgical medical malpractice does not happen. If you, or a loved one, have been the victim of surgical malpractice, call Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC 24 hours a day for free, no obligation information from an experienced member of our legal team. Millions of dollars have been already collected for our deserving clients and there is never a fee unless were are successful on your behalf. Call now at (312) 644-0444.