Today your Charleston personal injury attorneys learned that a week ago last Friday, at the conclusion of weeklong medical malpractice trial, a jury awarded a widower $2.4 million whose wife died of complications from a gynecological surgery. According to the Pickens County Clerk of Court, the award is believed to be the largest verdict from a lawsuit in the County. For those who don’t know, Pickens County is located in Upstate, South Carolina and is apart the Greenville-Mauldin-Easley Metropolitan Statistical Area.
The medical malpractice lawsuit stems from an October 2007 surgery in which attorneys for the Plaintiff (the aforementioned widower) argued that the treating surgeon perforated the deceased wife’s bowel during the procedure and then delayed treatment of the problem, resulting in the wife’s death on November 12, 2007 in Easley’s Palmetto Health Baptist Hospital. Defendants’ (surgeon and Easley Ob-Gyn Associated) lawyers contend that the bowel injury is a risk of the procedure performed on the deceased wife and, furthermore, argue that a timely diagnosis and treatment were provided once the problem was recognized. Plaintiff’s lawyers expect the Defendants will appeal the verdict.
Reports do not indicate the specific kind of gynecological surgery that was being performed at the time of the bowel perforation. But according to Medicine Plus, a service of the United States National Library of Medicine, bowel perforation is hole that develops through the entire wall of the large bowel, is considered a medical emergency, and, as we have seen in the above case can be caused by surgery. With an opening in the bowel, the contents held therein are emptied into the abdominal cavity, frequently resulting in blood infection, which, if left untreated, can cause almost immediate death due to the inability of major organs and body systems to function properly. Surgery to treat the perforation is usually successful, but dependent upon the severity of the hole and the length of time to treatment.
In general, medical malpractice is a segment of personal injury law that involves the negligence and wrongdoing on the part of medical professionals in just about every specialty of medical care, from pediatrics to plastic surgery. A medical malpractice lawsuit can be an effective means for a victim, or a deceased victim’s family member(s), to seek and recover financial compensation for injuries, unnecessary pain, and suffering that come as a result of substandard medical care. There different types of medical malpractice and can arise from a breach of doctor-patient confidentiality or a lack of informed consent, which is a medical provider’s obligation to inform a patient of potential risks of treatment and the patient’s right to be told all treatment options. But because of the highly technical and complex nature of medicine, it is often necessary for an attorney to work with expert witnesses in the relevant field of medicine, as well as professional investigators to build a successful claim.
It is often asked, “What is my claim worth?” Certainly a valid question for someone who has been the victim of medical malpractice, but it is an inquiry that rarely produces an exact answer, as there are number of claim-specific factors that have a direct impact on the monetary value of a medical malpractice claim. These factors include, but are not limited to, the severity and type of injury experienced, subsequent medical bills from that injury, the possibility of future medical care, lost wages from missed work because of the injury, the possible loss of future earnings, and applicable state statutes regarding medical malpractice compensation.
In South Carolina, medical malpractice laws have strict standards to prove a claim was warranted, and each medical specialty has its own standard of care for physicians within that specialty. Thus, if you suspect you, or a family member, are a victim of medical malpractice due to a South Carolina physician or hospital, contact an experienced Charleston personal injury lawyer to analyze your potential claim and determine if it meets the legal standards necessary to move forward.