On August 12, 2016, a wrongful death medical malpractice lawsuit was filed in Wisconsin against a hospital and its former heart surgeon, alleging that the heart surgeon’s medical negligence during open heart surgery led to a patient’s wrongful death shortly after his surgery.
The defendant heart surgeon was reportedly fired by the defendant hospital in October 2011 after its review of the defendant heart surgeon’s medical records for seven of his patients. In 2013, the State of Wisconsin investigated the deaths of two of the defendant heart surgeon’s patients, after which the defendant heart surgeon voluntarily surrendered his Wisconsin medical license in 2014.
The Wisconsin medical malpractice wrongful death lawsuit that was recently filed alleges that the 77-year-old patient had heart bypass surgery and heart valve repair performed by the defendant cardiac surgeon on August 16, 2011 that resulted in serious bleeding during the procedures. After the procedures were completed, attempts were made to wean the patient from cardiopulmonary bypass but diffuse bleeding was encountered from all the surgical areas, including the chest wall and subclavian vein. The patient continued to bleed from all areas after being transferred to the ICU and died a short time later.
The man’s widow and his estate contend in the Wisconsin medical malpractice lawsuit that the defendant cardiac surgeon breached the standard of care by damaging the patient’s vein during the procedure and by spending too much time attempting to harvest one of the man’s arteries instead of harvesting a vein for the bypass procedure, which resulted in the man being on the heart bypass machine for too long (more than eight hours).
The medical malpractice wrongful death claims against the defendant hospital allege that it was negligent in employing the defendant heart surgeon and/or was negligent in supervising the defendant heart surgeon.
Another Patient, Another Death
Another of the defendant heart surgeon’s patients was a 61-year-old woman who had open heart surgery performed by the defendant surgeon on July 20, 2011, during which the defendant allegedly spent too much time attempting to repair the patient’s heart valve instead of implanting an artificial value, which led to the woman being on the heart bypass machine for over ten hours. The patient was very difficult to wean from cardiopulmonary bypass, requiring placement of an intra-aortic balloon pump and the use of multiple vasopressors. Because of myocardial edema, the defendant surgeon elected to leave her chest open.
On July 25, 2011, the patient was returned to the operating room for closure of her chest and removal of the intra-aortic balloon pump. Post-operative echocardiograms demonstrated severe mitral insufficiency with reversal of flow in the pulmonary veins. The patient developed renal failure and her overall condition deteriorated with development of acute respiratory distress syndrome and liver failure. The family requested DNR status and later requested withdrawal of supportive measures. The patient died on August 15, 2011.
The defendant cardiac surgeon is reportedly now working for a vein clinic in Astoria, New York.
The Wisconsin Medical Examining Board accepted the voluntary surrender of the defendant heart surgeon’s medical license in its Final Decision and Order dated March 9, 2014 (the surgeon denied any unprofessional conduct with respect to the care of either patient discussed above). The Board’s Final Decision and Order provides specific details regarding the care rendered by the defendant cardiac surgeon to the two patients discussed above. The Board’s Final Decision and Order can be read here.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries or other harm as a result of medical malpractice in Wisconsin or in another state in the U.S., you should promptly seek the legal advice of a Wisconsin medical malpractice attorney (or a medical malpractice attorney in your state) who may investigate your medical malpractice claim for you and represent you in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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