Medical malpractice has more victims than just the patient whose doctor fails to treat him or her properly. Oftentimes, the family members of the patient are also left with increased medical bills, the stress of caring for a sicker individual and the financial costs of correcting mistakes that should never have been made in the first place. For a New York widow, however, the cost of a hospital's surgical error not only took her husband away, but also left her 32-year-old daughter stuck in state hospitals and group homes.
While this family has certainly gone through a lot of pain and suffering when the 60-year-old man died after initially being admitted for gallstones, the widow has finally won her medical malpractice lawsuit against the hospital that twice forgot to remove the man's gallbladder. The woman hopes to use the money to bring her daughter home from a state institution and provide 24-hour care for her.
The man was admitted to the hospital in June 2008 with an inflamed gallbladder and gallstones. While doctors claimed that he would have his gallbladder removed the following day, his name was not listed on the surgical schedule and they were unable to remove the organ. After such a grievous error, it would be reasonable to assume the hospital could not and would not make the same mistake twice. Unfortunately, the man's name failed to appear on the surgical schedule for the second day in a row, and by the time the hospital decided to operate, he was too sick and died in the hospital.
The 60-year-old was the primary caretaker for his daughter who lived with mental illness and epilepsy. After his death, the daughter was confused and family members were unable to provide the level of care she needed and were forced to send her to group homes and state-run institutions. Now, after winning $7.6 million in her medical malpractice suit, the man's wife plans to bring her daughter home.
Source: New York Daily News, "Family of man who died at Queens hospital awarded $7.6 million," Clare Trapasso, Jan. 4, 2012