On May 12, 2012, the family of a 50-year-old man with muscular dystrophy who died as a result of an endoscopy filed a medical malpractice case against the gastroenterologist who had performed the procedure on the man. The medical malpractice defendants also include the gastroenterologist’s medical practice and the hospital where the endoscopy was performed.
The Alleged Underlying Facts
When the man complained of abdominal distress, the diagnostic endoscopy was ordered to try to determine the source and cause of his discomfort. However, the patient had a form of muscular dystrophy that is often associated with cardiac problems (two cardiologists cleared the patient for the elective procedure). During the endoscopy, conscious sedation was used, as planned.
According to the family’s medical expert, conscious sedation used on a patient with muscular dystrophy is known to put the patient at a very high risk of respiratory failure. If respiratory failure does occurs, the result can be chronic dependence on a ventilator and the inability to be weaned off of the ventilator. During the man’s endoscopy, he suffered cardiorespiratory arrest allegedly as a result of the endoscopy and subsequently died on May 12, 2010, after a lengthy hospitalization and after having been on a ventilator for a prolonged period of time.
The medical malpractice lawsuit claims medical negligence in performing the endoscopy procedure and that the proper informed consent was not obtained before the procedure.
The medical malpractice defendants allege that the man’s mother had filed a formal complaint with the Texas Medical Board that investigated her claim. The Texas Medical Board advised the mother during October, 2011 that the experts who reviewed her claim on behalf of the Board found that the endoscopy was appropriately ordered and conducted and that there was insufficient evidence of medical negligence.
One of the lessons to be learned from this unfortunate medical malpractice claim is that all medical procedures have risks associated with them. While physicians and other health care providers attempt to reduce and manage the known risks, bad outcomes may still occur even when there is no medical negligence. However, when bad outcomes that are known risks associated with the medical procedures occur, they may be due to the breach of the standard of care that was required under the circumstances. If medical negligence occurs, then the careless or reckless medical provider may be held responsible for the foreseeable injuries and losses due to the medical mistakes or medical errors.
If you or a loved one are the victim of medical malpractice in Texas or in another state in the U.S., you may wish to promptly contact a local medical malpractice attorney to investigate your potential medical malpractice claim for you.
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