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Organ donation surgery almost performed on living woman

Surgeons are highly skilled professionals. Years of studying, schooling and residency make for very knowledgeable and confident surgeons, yet this confidence can sometimes come at a cost. Some surgeons feel they can do no wrong and this feeling of infallibility can be harmful to patients in the long run. Doctors should understand their own limitations and always be aware of the risks that come with surgery and other medical procedures. This awareness will only prove to better serve patients and improve healthcare.
One New York hospital is currently dealing with the repercussions of a grievous oversight and lack of awareness. Doctors at the hospital almost performed an organ harvest surgery on a woman who was still alive. Staff members finally accepted that she was alive after she opened her eyes.
The 41-year-old woman was initially admitted to the hospital for drug overdose. According to the state Health Department investigation, hospital admissions did not do nearly enough testing on the patient to test for drugs or brain activity. They also failed to administer a recommended treatment that prevents the absorption of drugs that were presumed to be in her system.
All of these failures combined led doctors to believe that the woman was brain dead. Realistically, she was in a coma due to the drug overdose. This later led to her family members making the decision to take her off life support and agreed to donate her organs.
Doctors and nurses ignored countless other signs of life like reactions to reflex tests and signs of independent breathing. Just before the organ surgery, doctors administered a sedative. The doctor’s didn’t make note of the life signs or the sedative. The sedative is strange because patients who are brain dead don’t usually require pain medication. Luckily, the surgeons received one more glaring sign of life. The patient opened her eyes in the operating room and the organ harvest was called off.
Such obvious occasions of surgeon error or medical malpractice are troubling. Although no one sued the hospital for malpractice in this instance, patients who suffer because of negligence certainly do have a cause of action against the hospital institution or the doctor. The suit could cover medical expenses, damages and pain and suffering that resulted from the medical negligence.
When harm occurs to a patient due to medical error, a patient and their family may not be aware of their options. A New York surgical error attorney can answer questions that a patient or family might have on how to pursue such a claim and as to what monetary compensation might be available.

Author

Jay W. Dankner

JAY W. DANKNER was born, raised and educated in Brooklyn, New York. After graduation from law school in 1973, he joined the firm of the legendary, Harry H, Lipsig, under whose tutelage he learned the intricacies of civil litigation and trials. He tried and won his first case against General Motors in a case involving a design defect within weeks after his admission. Thereafter, he focused his attention on the emerging and developing field of law known as products liability litigation.

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