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Surgical error left man with injuries and financial trouble

No one ever wants to think that a doctor could take advantage of a patient. When uninsured New York residents need surgery and other expensive medical procedures, sometimes options are limited and may even be unsafe.

A disturbing story comes out of another state where one man without health insurance paid cash for a hernia surgery. The man claims that a surgical error nearly killed him and left him financially devastated. The man filed a lawsuit against the doctor.

The suit alleges that the doctor did not anesthetize the man properly, that the surgery lasted eight hours instead of the proposed one hour and that the doctor accidentally severed the victim's colon during the procedure. The claim also purports that the severed colon was improperly tied off and that the surgeon's mistake led to the victim's subsequent injuries.

The suit also illustrates the scene of the surgery as a small room in a clinic with a brown reclining chair covered with paper. Additionally, the man claims that the doctor used ketamine as an anesthetic and that he endured excruciating pain during the procedure. Ketamine is usually used by veterinarians and is a local numbing agent rather than a general anesthetic.

Rushed to the emergency room a few days after the initial surgery, doctors discovered some serious problems. The significant injuries forced the man to take time off work. In addition, the family lost their home because they could not make the payments.

The doctor who performed the surgery caters to lower-income patients who do not have health insurance. But, patients who have to pay out-of-pocket for any reason do not deserve substandard care.

Medical malpractice claims focus on the cases where injuries occur due to failure to meet the accepted standards of care. These injuries are preventable and claims against the doctor or facility may allow victims to recover damages for medical expenses, pain and suffering and lost wages.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Pedro Hermenegildo, Uninsured Texas Man, Claims Doctor Botched Hernia Surgery," Alexander Eichler, July 9, 2012

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