Medical Malpractice Case Report: $650,000 settlement where unnecessary aortic valve replacement surgery performed on wrong patient
Firm partners John F. Eisberg and William J. Maddix of Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi, L.L.P. secured a medical malpractice settlement of $650,000 in a medical mistakes in surgery case after a healthy 69 year-old was given unnecessary aortic valve replacement surgery. Read the following Minnesota Association (MAJ) for Justice Minnesota Case Report:
D.M. was a healthy 69-year-old man with a physical job and enjoyment of biking and walking. His only known health issues were prostate cancer treated in 2003 with radiation therapy and longstanding, asymptomatic mitral valve regurgitation which was monitored with annual echocardiograms.
In 11/03, D.M. had his regular, annual echocardiogram. The test was sent to the Physician’s Clinic for interpretation. The report returned stating that DM had alarming findings of severe aortic valve disease. Urgent open heart surgery to replace this failing valve was recommended.
Open heart surgery took place on 12/30/03 but not without complications. Bleeding in the immediate recovery period required emergency re-operation. His sternum was fractured in multiple places. It would take months for these painful fractures to heal. DM could not return to work. A wound infection of the chest incision required antibiotics and messy dressing changes. Coumadin was prescribed indefinitely as is usual for patients with replaced valves.
At D.M.’s first cardiology follow-up on 1/27/04, he was told that the open heart surgery was a mistake due to a mix-up in names on the echo-cardiogram report and transcription. D.M. and his new wife chose to move on with their lives despite the error and concentrate on D.M.’s recovery.
D.M. was recuperating slowly but surely until bleeding from his urinary tract began in 12/05. The cause was radiation induced changes to the bladder, radiation cystitis, a not uncommon side effect of his treatments. But the bleeding wouldn’t stop because of the Coumadin he was required to take after his valve replacement. After multiple procedures and attempts to stop the bleeding, D.M. was referred to a metropolitan hospital to try an unusual treatment to stop the bleeding: 40 treatments in a hyperbaric chamber were endured to enhance tissue growth. The bleeding continued. Ultimately it was decided that to stop the bleeding, D.M.’s Coumadin would have to be stopped despite the risk of stroke. This finally worked. DM continues to try and regain his strength and former lifestyle.
Defense counsel agreed that a hospital systems error, specifically a transcription error, resulted in D.M. being subjected to surgery on the basis of another patient’s diagnostic findings.
D.M. and wife v. Physician's Clinic
John F. Eisberg
William J. Maddix