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Patient left with brain damage after simple surgery goes wrong

No matter how much the health care industry focuses on decreasing the number of medical mistakes made in hospitals around the country, they still happen. Every year, thousands of patients die from surgical errors and hospital negligence. Sadly, surgical errors are preventable and these errors can affect any patient, including residents of Queens.

One New York medical facility is currently facing medical malpractice accusations following an incident that left a 69-year-old woman brain damaged and in a vegetable-like state. The women entered the Montefiore Medical Center for a simple hernia operation. Her family believes that a surgeon's mistake, followed by a failure to properly care for the patient, led to the woman's worsened medical condition.

The woman's family filed the lawsuit earlier this month and they describe the unfortunate event as a "comedy of errors." The claim alleges that the woman's downfall began with a botched surgical incision that the doctor did not close properly. The patient suffered from significant internal bleeding and an infection that the facility did not address over the course of nearly a month.

By the time doctors performed another surgery to treat the infection three weeks later, the woman was discovered to have a stage 4 bedsore, meaning the infection went all the way down to her bone.

This fact, on top of everything else, is what led the family's attorney to call this a case of egregious malpractice.

The woman suffered significant brain injury from the infection. She is now living in a nursing home.

The patient was overweight and suffered from diabetes, but doctors apparently told the woman the surgery was routine and that she would be done in an hour.

The hospital strongly disputes the family's version of the events. However, if the hospital is found liable for the patient's injuries, the family may be awarded compensation.

Source: New York Post, "Brain damage from Montefiore hernia surgery: suit," Dan Mangan, June 12, 2012

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