Unfortunately, complications from gallbaldder surgery are not as uncommon as one might think. In the midst of pursuing medical malpractice claims on behalf of injury victims, we have handled gallbladder surgeries gone awry on more than one occasion and we have gained considerable experience in this area while recovering significant compensation for our clients. We have seen instances of negligence resulting in catastrophic injury. It is disconcerting to us when a high profile death occurs in connection with one of these surgeries.
Earlier this month, Congressman John Murtha died as a result of complications from gallbladder surgery. As many are aware, Mr. Murtha was a very distinguised and influential congressman. Sadly, he may now be distinguished for another reason, being one of nearly one hundred thousand individuals who suffer a fatality every year in American hospitals due to medical errors.
Mr. Murtha's death shines a spotlight on the complications that can occur in connection with gallbladder surgery. With the death of Mr. Murtha, it is appropriate to place attention not just on healthcare reform in general but more specifically on preventing medical mistakes.
As reported in The Washington Post, Mr. Murtha had an elective surgery called laparoscopic gallbladder surgery. This procedure was performed at Bethesda Naval Hospital. He got sick almost immediately thereater in connection with a severe infection that is known to occur in connection with such procedures.
The death rate in connection with gallbladder surgery is very low, even with elderly patients, so an issue arises as to Mr. Murtha's situation. There are those who believe that a short checklist can reduce the death rate significantly. Checklists have been implemented in many medical settings and have resulted in dramatic increases in surgical success and mortality rates. It is unknown whether Bethesda has such a checklist.
Roswold Law Group has been a supporter of medical checklists and we have observed situations in which such checklists may have prevented a disappointing and even catastrophic outcome. Communication between hospital staffers has been shown to be essential and procedures at some institutions leave a lot to be desired, to the detriment of the patient who needs coordinated care in order to have the best outcome at surgery. Hospital checklists are an important step that can be implemented to reduce the mortality rate year after year from medical mistakes.
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