Cleveland residents place their trust in doctors every day. We rely on a doctor’s expert advice when deciding whether to undergo an elective surgery. And we depend on their good judgment to address any known or foreseeable complications that may arise from such procedures.
Unfortunately, there are times when that trust is misplaced. A doctor may fail to follow the accepted standard of care for their profession. And the patient suffers as a result. When this happens, the patient has the right to seek compensation by filing a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Surgeon Faulted for Waiting Too Long to Correct Failed Breast Reconstruction
For example, a Franklin County appeals court recently upheld a medical malpractice judgment of more than $300,000 against a surgeon after a breast reconstruction surgery went terribly wrong for the patient. The plaintiff in this case, Jenkins v. Grawe, previously underwent a mastectomy following a breast cancer diagnosis.
Six years after the mastectomy, the plaintiff attended a presentation given by the defendant regarding different methods of breast reconstruction. The plaintiff and the defendant specifically discussed what is known as a TRAM flap procedure. This is basically where the surgeon uses a portion of the patient’s abdominal muscle to fashion new breast tissue.
The plaintiff elected to undergo the TRAM flap procedure. While the plaintiff was in recovery, however, she noticed the new breast tissue “started to swell” and was “turning purplish.” At the defendant’s direction, a nurse then applied leeches to the plaintiff’s breast. The next day, the defendant examined the plaintiff and decided to continue the leech therapy despite no change in the plaintiff’s overall condition.
The plaintiff was subsequently moved to a nursing home for rehabilitation. After about nine days, the plaintiff said she “realized there was no way the flap could be salvaged.” The defendant then performed a second surgery to remove the TRAM flap, which forced the plaintiff to spend an additional four months in a nursing home to recover from the open wound left by the failed breast reconstruction.
A jury ultimately determined the defendant was negligent, not because the TRAM flap procedure failed, but because the defendant failed to promptly remove the flap surgically, and instead relied upon leech therapy. The jury awarded the plaintiff $300,000 in non-economic damages (for her pain and suffering) and $58,620.74 in economic damages. The judge reduced the non-economic award to $250,000 to conform with Ohio law, bringing the final judgment to $308,620.74.
The defendant appealed the jury’s verdict on eight separate grounds, all of which the Ohio Tenth District Court of Appeals rejected.
Contact the Cleveland Medical Malpractice Lawyers at Tittle & Perlmuter Today
There are always risks inherent with any surgical procedure. But it is the responsibility of the doctor to act promptly, and in accordance with the applicable professional standards of care, when dealing with such risks. When the doctor fails in that responsibility, the patient has the right to explore all of their legal options.
An experienced Cleveland medical malpractice attorney can help you do just that. At Tittle & Perlmuter, we represent individuals who have suffered unnecessarily due to preventable medical mistakes. Call us today at (216) 308-1522 to schedule a consultation so we can learn more about your situation.