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Surgical Mishap – A Patient’s Heart is Ripped in Half Following Heart Surgery

A Confidential Settlement was Reached

Mrs. A was 84 years old when she underwent heart surgery at a local hospital. The surgery went well, but after it was finished Mrs. A’s heart began to beat too fast, and the resident physicians in the operating room could not restore a normal rhythm. While attempting to perform open heart cardiac massage, one of the residents inadvertently caused a tear in Mrs. A’s heart. The attending surgeon was able to repair the tear by suturing it closed, and a normal rhythm was restored.

Unfortunately, however, while repairing the tear, the surgeon unintentionally sutured a Swan Ganz catheter to the inside of Mrs. A’s heart wall. (This surgical mishap was not discovered until a post-operative echocardiogram was performed.) Plans were made to return Mrs. A to the operating room the next day to remove the catheter. But, as she was being transported back to the OR, a loop of the catheter line somehow became snagged on a door handle, ripping a jagged tear in Mrs. A’s heart.

Miraculously, Mrs. A survived the incident, but she died several days later. A confidential settlement was reached with the hospital before a lawsuit was filed.