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Woman wins medical malpractice case

Sometimes it takes a lot of courage and patience to stand up for yourself when you feel that the treatment you received resulted in a life-altering condition. This is exactly what a New Albany, Indiana, woman did claiming that if she would have had surgery earlier, it would have prevented her from living with a debilitating disorder.

The woman, 30, has short gut syndrome which is caused by the removal of most of her small intestine. She feels that this condition was the result of her surgeon delaying surgery.

The incident began in 2003 when the woman checked herself into a local hospital complaining of abdominal pain. She saw the defendant for a surgical consultation. The surgeon at that time initially thought that surgery was necessary and scheduled it for the next day. When the surgeon met with her the day of the surgery, he decided against the surgery based on new information and sent her home.

According to the woman, the surgeon then went out of town for the weekend and did not assign anyone for surgical coverage during his absence.

The patient's condition got worse over the weekend and she went back to the hospital where doctors were worried that she was going to die. Another surgeon was called in, and he performed the surgery that she was originally scheduled to have.

What the surgeon found was that she had ischemic bowel disease, or a dead bowel. Lawyers for the patient claim that her entire bowel would not have died if the surgery had been performed when originally scheduled.

The surgeon in the case doesn't feel that having the surgery any earlier would have changed the outcome. The surgeon and doctors caring for the patient at the time felt that she was exhibiting signs of a kidney infection. What they didn't realize is that she also had a condition related to a congenital blood clotting disorder which was cutting off blood to and from her bowel.

After a four-day trial, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the patient. This life-altering condition has made it impossible for her to work. She takes medication daily and is weak because she cannot get the necessary nutrition from eating and is constantly bloated. While the settlement can't bring her back to where she was, she feels that justice was served.

Source: The News and Tribune, "Jury awards $1.5 million in medical malpractice suit," Matt Thacker, Jan. 20, 2012

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