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Case involving surgical errors leads to $1.8 million jury award

Sometimes West Virginia doctors make grave mistakes in the operating room, ones with long-term repercussions. In one out-of-state case involving surgical errors, a woman claimed she was sterilized after a physician cut the incorrect fallopian tube while she was undergoing a medical procedure. The woman was recently awarded nearly $2 million by a jury.

The woman, at 28 years old, claimed she went to a hospital with a complaint of pelvic pain. Doctors did not know whether she had an infection or appendicitis. The woman ended up undergoing an appendectomy that a surgeon performed. Then, another doctor, who had just finished her residency 18 months prior, started to do surgery on an abscess in her right fallopian tube area. The doctor, however, knew that something was amiss and called in another physician.

It was determined that the wrong tube had been cut, thus rendering the patient infertile. The patient had to undergo an extra surgical procedure and was trying to get pregnant through the process of invitro fertilization, which has some potential side effects and risks. The $1.8 million awarded to the patient includes money for non-economic damages ($1.3 million), for medical expenses ($190,000) and for the loss of consortium suffered by the woman's husband ($310,000).

Surgical errors can easily occur if doctors fail to exercise reasonable degrees of care in operating rooms. This is grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit in West Virginia when patients are injured as a result. Liability has to be established by competent proof before claims for damages will be decided by a civil court.

Source: theday.com, "Jury awards $1.8 million in medical malpractice case", Karen Florin, April 20, 2016

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