All Posts in Category: Wrong Site Surgery

Girl Awarded Negligent Heart Operation Compensation by Court

A court in Pasadena, California, has awarded a woman who grew up with an avoidable heart condition due to “baffling” post-natal surgery one million dollars in negligent heart operation compensation.

The woman, who was not named in court, was born in the Huntingdon Hospital in May 1979 with a heart issue. An operation the day following her delivery was intended to fix the septal wall which separated the left and right chambers of the heart; however the Los Angeles County Superior Court heard that during the operation the vena cava artery – the artery which carries de-oxygenised blood to the heart – was connected to the wrong side of the septal wall and, as a consequence, the flow of blood was directed into the heart´s left chamber instead of the right.

As a result of the surgical error, the girl grew up with constant oxygen deprivation which caused hypoxia, physical disabilities and other health problems, and it was not until 2007 that the cause of the problem was identified. The court heard that the claimant underwent surgery shortly before her thirtieth birthday in 2009 to correct the problem, and subsequently sought legal advice about making a claim for negligent heart operation compensation in relation to the initial error.

The defence for the negligent surgeon – Dr Alan Gazzaniga – argued that it was too late to make a claim for negligent heart operation compensation according to the Statute of Limitations; however the claimant´s counsel argued successfully that the woman could not have been expected to known that her heart condition was the result of Dr Gazzaniga´s medical negligence prior to the discovery of the error in 2007 – with the claim subsequently made within the Statute of Limitations after the discovery of the negligent heart operation.

In court, the physician who surgically fixed the heart mistake described Dr. Gazzaniga´s work in court as “baffling” and “incorrect” and along with two other cardiothoracic surgeons, a cardiologist, a paediatric cardiologist and a vocational rehabilitation specialist, testified that the woman´s heart condition and subsequent problems could have been avoided had it not been for the negligence of Dr. Gazzaniga.

After three weeks of litigation, the jury at the Los Angeles County Superior Court in Pasadena returned a verdict in favour of the claimant and awarded her one million dollars in negligent heart operation compensation, having found Dr. Gazzaniga guilty of medical negligence by demonstrating a lack of skill – or the ability to demonstrate that skill – during the first surgical operation.

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Negligent Brain Procedure Compensation for Paramedic

An ex-paramedic, who was left severely disabled after doctors removed the wrong part of his brain, has accepted a seven figure settlement of compensation for negligent brain procedure from the NHS Trust responsible for the error.

John Tunney (63) from Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, underwent the operation in April 2008 after an MRI scan had shown abnormalities around his pituitary gland. However, instead of removing the tumour, surgeons took out healthy tissue during the operation which resulted in John´s brain haemorrhaging.

The mistake left John partially blind and requiring 24 hour care. He later learned that the operation had not even been necessary as doctors had failed to check the results of a blood test which would have revealed that John was suffering from prolactinoma – a benign and common pituitary tumour which can be treated with tablets.

After taking legal advice, John – who was employed by the West Midlands Ambulance Service as a paramedic for 23 years – made a claim for negligent brain surgery compensation against the University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust and, after an investigation, the NHS Trust admitted liability for the dual error.

John´s solicitors entered into negotiations with University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust over how much compensation for negligent brain operation should be awarded and, although details of the final settlement have not been published, a settlement in excess of one million pounds has been agreed.

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