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50 Year Old Woman Bleeds to Death Following Routine Laparoscopic Surgery

Confidential Settlement Reached for the Communication Error

Mrs. Z was scheduled for outpatient laparoscopic surgery. She was told to stop taking her blood-thinning medication the day before surgery. On the morning of surgery, however, she told the pre-op nurse that she had taken a dose that morning. The nurse documented this information in the chart, but she didn’t tell the surgeon, and the surgeon didn’t look at the chart before surgery and didn’t speak to Mrs. Z.

After surgery, Mrs. Z had low blood pressure and complained of abdominal pain. One explanation for these symptoms is internal bleeding. But since the surgeon didn’t know Mrs. Z took a blood thinner that morning, he never considered that explanation. By the time the surgeon finally intervened, it was too late — Mrs. Z bled to death in her hospital bed.

The Eisen Law Firm filed suit, arguing that the surgery should have been cancelled due to the increased risk of bleeding. The doctor and nurse noncommunication lead to the death of the patient. Instead of accepting responsibility, the surgeon blamed the nurse: “if he she had told me, I would’ve cancelled.” But The Eisen Law Firm was able to prove through expert testimony that it was the surgeon’s job to review his patient’s chart and, had he done his job, he would’ve known about the blood thinner and cancelled the surgery. A confidential settlement was reached soon thereafter.