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Jurors award $744k in surgical medical malpractice suit

Any residents of Washington, D.C., who faced the choice of whether to undergo surgery -- even when the procedure is life-saving and essential – are doubtlessly aware that it is usually a major and daunting decision. Imagine, then, being convinced by a surgeon that a painful procedure is necessary, only to discover later that other, less-intrusive methods could have been attempted first. In a recent medical malpractice suit in another state, this is apparently just what occurred.

The lawsuit was filed approximately two years ago against an orthopedic surgeon, alleging that he performed unnecessary surgery on a 16-year-old boy. The youth's shoulder had been injured in a wrestling match several years prior, and after months of pain, the teen sought medical attention. A surgeon supposedly informed the teen and his parents that, unless the young man underwent a specific surgical procedure, he would continue to suffer pain for the rest of his life. The operation, known as the Mumford procedure, involved the removal of the boy's clavicle end.

In the complaint, the boy's parents claimed that the unneeded shoulder surgery means that their son will continue to experience pain throughout the remainder of his life. Their attorney argued that they should have been offered options for more conservative treatment first before resorting to surgery. The jury obviously agreed with the argument, ruling in the family's favor for damages in the amount of $744,000.

The orthopedic surgeon responsible passed away before the case was decided. However, barring an appeal by the defense, $250,000 of the damages will be paid by the now-deceased surgeon's medical malpractice insurance. The state's Department of Insurance's Patient Compensation Fund will cover the remainder. Any residents of Washington, D.C., who find themselves in a comparable situation – suffering injury due to the negligence or misconduct of a surgeon or other healthcare practitioner – may likewise benefit from the knowledgeable legal counsel of an attorney with experience in similar medical malpractice cases.

Source: beckersspine.com, "Jury finds late Indiana orthopedic surgeon guilty in $744k malpractice suit: 6 things to know", Megan Wood |, May 22, 2017

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