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Medical malpractice suit filed against surgeon's estate

A recently filed lawsuit serves as an excellent example of the range of options available to victims of medical errors or negligence. In this unusual case, the patient was unable to pursue the medical professional directly because he died before she was ready to move forward with legal action against him. However, she and her family have now filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the estate of the deceased surgeon. This case demonstrates that Massachusetts residents have options when it comes to medical malpractice.

The suit is based on a 2008 procedure performed by the surgeon. The woman underwent a breast reconstruction surgery following a double mastectomy. When she attempted to contact the surgeon for follow-up treatment, she was told that he was no longer practicing due to illness. However, he had actually turned in his medical license on the heels of numerous complaints by other patients. When asked for copies of the woman's medical records, his office did not provide those documents.

Making matters worse, when the woman saw another surgeon, she discovered that the original doctor had installed the wrong devices inside of her body. As a result, she had to undergo yet another expensive and painful surgical procedure to correct the error. In 2010, the original surgeon passed away, leaving his wife as executor of his estate.

The patient and her family made the determination to pursue the doctor's estate in a medical malpractice suit. They are asking for compensatory and punitive damages, plus interest. While this woman may never get the opportunity to face the surgeon in court or see him held accountable for his alleged negligence, she and her family stand to recover the costs associated with this error if they can prove he negligently caused her injury. This case serves as an important reminder to all Massachusetts residents that there are avenues of legal recourse available when a medical professional fails to provide the appropriate standard of care.

Source: West Virginia Record, "Family sues physician's estate for medical malpractice," Kyla Asbury, Sept. 17, 2012

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