Woman awarded $2.4 million in lawsuit

Discussion in 'Community Board' started by RitaZ., Oct 4, 2007.

  1. RitaZ.

    RitaZ. Move on don't hesitate, break out.

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    http://www.local10.com/news/14272154/detail.html

    PEMBROKE PINES, Fla. -- A Broward County jury awarded more than $2.4 million to a first-grade teacher who lawyers said was left permanently disabled after doctors left a foot-long sponge in her body.

    Karlene Chambers, of Pembroke Pines, was scheduled for a routine Cesarean procedure on Sept. 11, 2001, at Memorial Hospital West. Nearly two weeks after her surgery, Chamber was readmitted to another hospital and placed in intensive care after she had severe abdominal pain.

    A CAT scan revealed that the surgeon who performed the C-section, Dr. Joseph Becerra of the Pembroke Pines OB/GYN Associates, had left a foot-long surgical sponge in Chambers' body.

    The jury awarded the verdict Tuesday after a 12-day trial.

    Representatives for Chambers said that an infection caused by the incident ravaged her abdomen and uterus and that she will never be able to have children again.

    An X-ray shows the foot-long sponge, with a ribbon attached. The ribbon is made from a special material that shows up on X-rays, so that the sponges can be found in case they are left in a body.

    Chambers underwent a second surgery to remove the sponge.
     
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  3. DisneyAddict_M

    DisneyAddict_M <font color=purple>Born to stand out<br><font colo

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    So this happens often? :scared:
     
  4. Cool-Beans

    Cool-Beans <marquee behavior=alternate><font color=deeppink>F

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    No. Those sponges are counted several times before the operation. They are counted as they go in and come out. Before the patient gets closed, they are re-counted to make certain there aren't any left behind.

    It is pretty rare.
     
  5. tluvstink

    tluvstink DIS Veteran

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    I am in no way trying to make excuses for the Dr. but look at the date this happened. Maybe they were distracted, again not making excuses. I think she deserved to win the lawsuit.

    Terri
     
  6. poohandwendy

    poohandwendy DIS Veteran

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    Wow, good catch. I don't think I would have ever noticed that.

    I agree, she deserved to win the lawsuit. It was negligence and her life was not only endangered, but she suffered permanently because of it.

    Fortunately, she didn't die.
     
  7. Cool-Beans

    Cool-Beans <marquee behavior=alternate><font color=deeppink>F

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    When doctors and/or nurses make mistakes, people die or can't have children or whatever. It is human nature to make mistakes. Even with all the procedures in place, they sometimes happen. Pretty much everyone else can make a dumb mistake (like putting a decimal in the wrong spot or miscounting something) at work and nobody is injured/dies.

    But, these simple mistakes do kill people or ruin their lives. So, they aren't too forgiving, which is totally understandable.

    Sometimes I wish people would cut us some slack and remember that everyone makes mistakes, it is just that ours have such big consequences. But I understand that when someone else's mistake ruins your life it can tend to piss you off.

    I'm so not taking a side on this one. I feel for the folks who tried to help, but screwed up and now have to live with the knowledge that they harmed someone instead of helping them...and got sued for their trouble. I also feel for the woman who can't have more children. :(
     
  8. poohandwendy

    poohandwendy DIS Veteran

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    I wouldn't sue just because I was pissed off. This sort of mistake goes beyond pissed off. I am not one who thinks lawsuits should happen for every small human error. If the mistake could be easily corrected and the woman had not been permanently damaged from the mistake, that would be one thing. That isn't the case with this situation.

    So as much as I feel for the people who made the error, the consequences are permanent for the woman and IMO should also be more than just a slap on the wrist for the people who made the error.
     
  9. Bust*A*Stitch

    Bust*A*Stitch BUUURRRRP!

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    Not 2 weeks ago the labour and delivery nurse called for a ER cesearian section (sp?) because I guess we upset her solataire game, she wouldn't listen to us at all, just because of a little pain like an air bubble, my wife felt like she couldn't burp. Nurse freaked out because she couldn't find the baby's heart beat. but even I know you should try more than once.

    This idiot almost risked the life of my unborne son and my wife because she was upset we showed up.

    turned out my wife was pasing a gall stone.

    Problem solved, we walked out of that hosp and went to another one that was VERY aware of the situation at the first hosp and actually took time to listen to the problem and offer corect remedies.

    Sorry this PO'd me so much I cant even type straight about it.

    Busta
     
  10. Cool-Beans

    Cool-Beans <marquee behavior=alternate><font color=deeppink>F

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    It was a mis-count. Small error. Big consequence. I'm not saying she shouldn't sue or that she shouldn't have won.
    The people who made the error won't pay for it. Their insurance and hospital will. And that will get turned around and billed to patients. So, in effect other patients pay for all the lawsuits - valid and invalid.

    << Oh, GO TRIBE. Home run! :) >>

    Even though the docs/nurses won't be paying, they have to live with the knowledge that they made a mistake that caused someone harm. It is every doctor and nurse's worst fear. I can't imagine how hard that must be. Those of us who never did anything like that are lucky. I mean, you try like heck to avoid it...but in the end, I think I'm lucky that I'm not thinking about someone else and how I hurt them every night when I go to bed.

    I don't know how they mis-counted that stuff. And I don't know how that woman feels. But, I feel badly for all of them.

    ETA: Imagine going in to work every day and knowing that you have to everything absolutely right or someone dies/becomes injured/has their life ruined. You work hard day after day, year after year, doing everything absolutely right. Then one day you screw up and you are responsible for killing someone or causing them extra pain. And you have to live with that! It has to be horrible.

    The only reason I went into nursing - I was going to quit when I was in school, just because of this - was that DH said, "Well, do the numbers. Is the world going to be better off if you save 5,000 lives and kill someone or if you do nothing?" I figured the world would be better off for the 5,000. And I worked and prayed that I'd never hurt anyone.

    So, I feel badly for those who have hurt someone, just as I feel badly for the person who was hurt.
     
  11. CapeMayMommy

    CapeMayMommy Mouseketeer

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    I was thinking the same thing. I know I wasn't functioning my very best that day.
     
  12. LisaR

    LisaR <img src=http://www.wdwinfo.com/images/silver.jpg>

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    There is more to this story. The lady returned to the hospital 3 days later when she wasn't feeling well and they prescribed antibiotics. She returned again on Sept. 19th and an x-ray revealed the sponge but they sent her home! Apparently there was a "break down in communication." On Sept. 21st. a CT Scan again showed the sponge and she had emergency surgery.

    It is one HUGE mistake to leave it in her in the first place but to ignore it after an x-ray clearly showed a foreign object is utter neglect.

    http://www.floridatoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=200771004005
     
  13. pouncingpluto

    pouncingpluto 2005 WDW Bride

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    In my, uh, vast experience as a law student one month in, I've already learned in Torts class that this specific situation is one of the few exceptions to a plaintiff having the burden of proof of negligence. Instead, the proof of not being negligent shifts to the defendant, and the defendant is hardly ever successful.

    So, while this mistake is rare, it makes total sense for them to have this ribbon, because it's such a serious issue, medically and legally, when it happens.

    I did read this one weird case in which a pad was found in a patient, kinda half in her bowel and half out in her abdomen (there was a hole in the wall), and the defendant tried to claim that the patient had tried to commit suicide by swallowing it, rather than it having been left in during surgery. The defendant still lost.
     
  14. poohandwendy

    poohandwendy DIS Veteran

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    Yeah, me too. This is a lawsuit I agree was valid, but it's a shame it happened. (for all involved)
     
  15. poohandwendy

    poohandwendy DIS Veteran

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    It definitely is, it shows that more than one thing can go wrong and that not one person is totally liable. Like I said earlier, hopefully this case is one that will spare another person from this type of thing because it is a reminder.

    Thankfully, this woman didn't die, which would have been much more horrible. Not saying that she didn't go through enough, but at least she lived.
     
  16. Piecey

    Piecey <font color=darkorchid>I find myself fighting with

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    That was the first thing that I thought..

    but man.. how scary..
     
  17. momof2inPA

    momof2inPA <font color=6600FF>DIS Veteran<br><font color=FF33

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    That's why there's malpractice insurance, but the sponge was a FOOT long. That's why there are malpractice lawsuits (and should be no limits, IMO).
     
  18. momof2inPA

    momof2inPA <font color=6600FF>DIS Veteran<br><font color=FF33

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    That's egregious. You know, juries don't award $2 million dollars to people for petty mistakes. Thanks for filling us in on the rest of the story. Apparently, it wasn't all 9-11 related.
     
  19. LaraK

    LaraK <font color=magenta>A wet monitor is the sign of a

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    I'm surprised it went to trial, most cases are settled because the general public doesn't like the health care providers. Hospitals are big open check books, people don't see the ramifications to everyone due to enormous awards.

    In this case, the patient had a valid issue. I'm amazed the hospital didn't settle....I can only assume the plaintiff wanted it to go to trial to increase the award.

    Mistakes DO happen. Hospitals look into each and every one (including most, which don't actually reach the patient). Hospitals are amazingly complex places. There are thousands of people and any time you include people, you have an opportunity for a mistake.

    For every step in a process, the likelihood for error is exponentially increased. Something as "simple" as getting your blood drawn has about 20 steps, think of abdominal surgery...

    The hospital was clearly wrong and this patient was harmed. The staff did not accurately complete their counts, the response to the problem was inadequate. But it was a tragedy for the staff as well.
     
  20. HeyIt'sMe

    HeyIt'sMe <font color=darkorchid>For Tag Fairy's Use only<br

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    Actually I saw a TV show once about things left in people after surgery and it happens more than you'd realize! Yikes!

    They did have a segment on the show about a doctor that is trying to develop a better tracking system for OR tools/sponges/rags etc. He was looking at some kind of bar code/scanning system. Everything would be scanned before the surgery and then again after and the system would indicate what item(s) weren't scanned. I guess now items are manually counted and written down.
     
  21. ThirtyYearsAsNurse

    ThirtyYearsAsNurse Earning My Ears

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    I KNOW what happened in that operating room because I WAS THERE!!!! All of the nurse were crying their eyes out because the second tower collapsed DURING the c-section!!! The nurse who was RESPONSIBLE for COUNTING ths sponges thought her uncle was in the first tower!!! It was terriible!! SHE MADE THE MISTAKE and she ADMITTED IT!! Unfortunately it is a PUBLIC hospital so the patient only got $50,000. She wanted more so she went after the "deep pocket". The doctors lawyers were also representing the hospital ( big mistake!!) so they made the doctor "admit" liability so he would not point fingers at the NURSE WHO WAS ACTUALLY THE ONE 100% AT FAULT and NOT HIM!!!! It gets so much worse... The lawyers refused to explain to the jury how sponges are counted in the operating room!! The jury did NOT know this is strictly the nurse's responsibility during surgery!!! The hospital also admitted 100% liability for the radiologist NEVER telling the doctor an X-ray had even been performed! The radiologist NEVER called anyone to tell them the results and the results NEVER were put on the chart!! The doctor was thrown into the lions den and left for DEAD!! He had ZERO responsibility for this mess!! Then the insurance company REFUSED to pay one dime of the award! They had gotten an OFFER TO settle the case in Dec 2006 for $250,000 ( less then the malpractice policy) and NEVER told the doctor about it and then REFUSED the offer!!! The doctor was surrounded by incompetant lawyers and nurses and a FRAUDULENT insurance company. He was followed by PI's and threatened constantly. If anyone thinks for one minute he did anything wrong then you were misled by lying media and lawyers. This doctor is a KIND and GENTLE man who would never had hurt a FLY!! His patients LOVED him and were very happy. He saved many many women during his career. Second generations of patients would go see him as instructed by their mothers!! People would fly back to the area just so he could take care of them!! How horrible for this to have happened to a wonderful person like him and shame on anyone who thinks he desrved this mistreatment. The justice system is broken..
     

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