Earlier this month, Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa) died from complications after having his gallbladder removed. Soon after his death, speculation arose whether Congressman Murtha fell victim to medical negligence. Our experienced Chicago medical malpractice lawyers discuss this issue below.
Gallbladder surgery is a relatively routine procedure. Still, as with all surgeries, there is a risk of serious complications, including death. It is important to distinguish a “bad result” from “malpractice.” Only injuries caused by a doctor’s deviation from the appropriate standard of medical care is malpractice.
According to several news reports, Congressman Murtha first hospitalized with gallbladder problems in December, and underwent surgery on January 28 at the National Naval Hospital in Bethesda, Md. He was discharged from the hospital following surgery, but was re-admitted two days later when complications developed. According to various sources, Murtha’s surgeon inadvertently nicked his intestine while performing the laparoscopic gallbladder procedure. The nick, or small cut, caused a serious infection to develop, which led to his death.
Congressman Murtha’s death has brought the issue of preventable medical errors back into the limelight as Congress returns to health care reform legislation. Preventable medical errors, such as wrong-site surgeries, improper medication and delayed diagnosis of cancer, kill an estimated 98,000 people each year. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or killed while under the care of a medical professional, and you suspect medical negligence could have played a factor, contact a top-rated Chicago medical malpractice attorney at Passen Law today for a free consultation.
Since Murtha’s death, there has been much debate about whether or not the surgeons should have noticed the cut, taken appropriate steps to repair it, and then administered antibiotics to prevent infection and other complications. In other words, did Murtha die as a result of a preventable medical error? Mr. Murtha’s family has time to decide whether or not to contact a wrongful death lawyer and pursue a negligence action arising out of his death. It is possible that, behind the scenes, the insurance companies for the doctors and hospitals involved may be trying to resolve the matter without ever facing a lawsuits. Such negotiations never become public record.
The death of such a prominent politician after undergoing a routine operation is a stark reminder that improved patient safety must be a key component of health care reform. For a Free Consultation with an experienced Chicago medical malpractice lawyer at Passen & Powell’s, call us at 312-527-4500.