Elderly Patient Dies In Hospital After Bleeding To Death Post-Surgery, Part 3 of 5

The following blog entry is written to illustrate an example of an injury case. Reviewing this kind of lawsuit should help potential plaintiffs and clients better understand how parties in personal injury cases present such issues to the court.

(Please also note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this big rig accident lawsuit and its proceedings.)

Plaintiffs Sasha Jimerson and Sam Watson Jr. alleged that the patient clearly was demented and could not legally consent to the surgery. The surgery was unnecessary in an 89 year old with multiple medical problems and exposed him to a high risk of complication. The consent obtained on February 17, 2007 was invalid because of dementia. All of the defendants should have made the diagnosis of dementia or should have had a neurologist consult on the patient prior to surgery.

Plaintiffs also alleged that the patient was never “cleared” for surgery by Dr. Reason and, therefore, Dr. Haim acted prematurely. After surgery, the patient essentially bled to death, most likely from undocumented and persistent bleeding from the surgical incision, and defendants failed to control the bleeding, which led to underperfusion of the patient’s vital organs, ultimately causing his death.

Plaintiffs’ expert had no criticism of the surgery itself. Instead, he believed the consent was invalid due to the patient’s mental condition. He was critical of Dr. Haim for not correcting the post-operative hemorrhaging.

Plaintiffs’ expert criticized everyone for obtaining consent from a person clearly incompetent to give consent. The daughter’s concerns were well taken, and, at a minimum, Dr. Reason and Dr. Haim should have consulted with hospital administration and a neurologist for assistance. Although he acknowledged that Dr. Reason did not clear the patient for surgery, which he commended, he did criticize his “quarterbacking” of the post-operative care with regard to the bleeding, which he should have diagnosed and corrected. Finally, he criticized Dr. Reason for “covering up” for Dr. Haim in his dictated death summary, as it says that there was an intensive discussion with the family before the surgery went forward, which clearly was not true.

For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.

Plaintiffs further contended that no elective surgery is ever done on a Sunday morning, and Dr. Haim operated that day to be “under the radar” and to make money.

Defendant Reason claimed he met the standard of care in all respects both before and after the surgery. After February 13, 2007, neither he nor any consultant or nurse expressed any concern regarding the patient’s mental competency. He further contended that he did not “clear” the patient for surgery, as he noted in the record, but was deferring that decision to the hematology consultant who was to evaluate the high white blood cell count. After he saw the patient the morning before surgery, he heard nothing about the patient or his surgery. He presumed, therefore, that the hematologist had provided the necessary clearance. The hematologist did note that he felt the high WBC was due to the administration of steroids and not due to infection.

For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.

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