Massachusetts readers may have heard about a jury on the west coast that recently awarded a banker more than $500,000 for the injuries he suffered after a surgery. He alleged that he contracted an infection after the surgery that has resulted in permanent injury to his knee. Reports indicate that the outpatient surgery center will appeal the personal injury award.
On Sept. 10, 2010, a physician not named in the lawsuit performed arthroscopic surgery on the banker's right knee. Court documents claim that he contracted a deep-tissue infection as a result of pathogenic bacteria on surgical equipment used in his procedure. The surgery center blames the man's infection and resulting injuries on a disinfecting sponge.
Coastal Surgical Institute in California says the product is to blame, not the surgical center, which stopped using the product shortly after this incident. However, the jury disagreed and awarded the injured patient $543,034. The award past as well as future damages.
Even after a total knee replacement and a revision surgery, the banker still suffers pain in his knee. He is unable to climb or ascend stairs or otherwise move around construction sites. His employer hired a second person to assist him with conducting his duties and had to modify his work schedule.
As in other jurisdictions, surgical centers in Massachusetts are responsible for the safety of their patients. When medical errors occur that cause serious or permanent injury, the injured patient may file a personal injury claim to seek recovery of damages much like this man did. If a patient dies because of an error, the surviving family of the deceased may file a wrongful death claim for damages. Either way, the parties retain the right to seek financial restitution by way of a medical malpractice claim.
Source: sanluisobispo.com, Jury awards $543K in lawsuit against Pismo Beach outpatient surgery center, Cynthia Lambert, Dec. 21, 2013