A California medical malpractice trial is underway in which it is claimed that a woman bled to death after her IUD was surgically removed because the doctors failed to recognize that a needle had inadvertently punctured her left internal iliac artery during the procedure. The 40-year-old woman wanted to have her IUD removed and a tubal ligation done at the same time. She bled to death within 14 hours after the 40-minute surgery; she was found unresponsive in her bed by her husband. An autopsy determined that over two quarts of her blood had seeped from the 3mm by 4mm perforation that occurred during the surgery.
The California medical malpractice case names as the defendants the hospital where the procedures were done and the anesthesiologist involved with the procedures (the surgeon who had performed the procedures settled before trial). The April 13, 2011 surgery involved three separate procedures: the initial procedure involved a hysteroscopy to locate her IUD, a second procedure to remove her IUD, and finally the tubal ligation. The woman was brought to the post-surgical recovery area after the three procedures, where she remained for three hours until she was discharged to home at about 6 pm the same day.
The medical malpractice lawsuit alleges that the woman’s husband helped her into bed at home and gave her Vicodin later that night that had been prescribed by the anesthesiologist for her pain and to help her sleep. Even after being given the Vicodin, the woman remained in pain. Her concerned husband attempted to reach the anesthesiologist by telephone but was unsuccessful. He subsequently called the hospital and was advised that if his wife continued to be in pain, he should bring her back to the hospital.
Shortly afterwards, the woman’s husband was relieved to find that his wife had finally been able to fall asleep. He woke her up at around 1 am to give her another Vicodin and she fell back asleep. He was unable to wake her up at 5 am, at which time she was unresponsive because she had suffered cardiac arrest and had died.
The trial of the medical malpractice case in the Fresno County (California) Superior Court started on September 12, 2013 and was continuing as of September 16, 2013.
This sad and unfortunate medical malpractice case is an example of what can go wrong, even with the most common surgical procedures and routine medical treatment. The unexpected and unintended puncture of the woman’s left internal iliac artery resulted in slow internal bleeding that was not detected before her routine discharge from the hospital. The medical malpractice defendants in this case maintain that their care did not deviate from the standard of care and therefore they should not be held responsible for her unexpected complication and resulting death.
All that the woman’s widower knows is that the surgery was supposed to be a simple, common procedure with little risk and that he and his wife were told to expect a short period of recovery after which they would continue their lives together. Now, the surviving husband must endure the constant and deep emotional pain and sorrow of living without the love of his life.
If you or a loved one suffered unexpected injuries or complications from surgery or other medical treatment, your unanticipated harms may be due to someone’s medical negligence. You should promptly consult with a local medical malpractice attorney in your state who may investigate the cause(s) of your serious injuries and represent you in a medical negligence claim, if appropriate.
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