MEDICAL MALPRACTICE AND PERSONAL INJURY LAW BLOG

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Hospital Infections and Double Leg Amputation

When a patient goes into the hospital for a surgical operation, they should be advised of the risks of the operation. It is important for a patient to understand the risks and benefits in order to make an informed decision on their own healthcare. Unfortunately, some medical mistakes may occur when the patient is unconscious, leaving them to wake up with serious injuries they never expected. How can a routine operation lead to a double leg amputation? 

Coma After Gynecological Operation

Stacey Galette was only 30-years-old when she went in for a gynecological operation at Winthrop University Hospital in New York. The young mother was going in for a salpingectomy, which is a laparoscopic removal of a fallopian tube which carries an ectopic pregnancy. An ectopic pregnancy can be fatal to the mother if it is not treated. 

After completion of the surgery, Galette developed pain in her abdomen. When she was discharged, her pain got worse. She was readmitted to the hospital and suffered septic shock. A surgery discovered a perforation of the patient’s colon. After continued treatment, Galette developed gangrene in her legs. She underwent amputation of her feet but the gangrene progressed. Eventually, she suffered a double below-the-knee amputation

Malpractice Claim for Damages

After a medical malpractice claim, a jury awarded Galette $62 million in damages for her losses. Her damages included future medical costs, continuing care, and pain and suffering. In an interview, Galette said she was happy that just “justice was served,” but she will never be able to walk again. Without legs and using prosthetics and mobile devices, Galette eventually had to move in with her godmother who can help the mother care for her child. 

Complications of Amputation 

Amputation is one of the most traumatic medical treatments anyone can face. Amputation is the surgical removal of a limb or body part and the loss of the limb is permanent. As in this case, an amputation may be required to deal with a serious infection. 

Infection after surgery is a common cause of amputation. However, even after amputation, infections can continue to spread. A wound could become infected during surgery where the surgical team is not properly cleaning and sanitizing instruments, their hands, or the surgical area. Failure to properly treat an infection and prevent its spread can lead to sepsis, infection shock, and eventually, death. 

After an amputation, the patient may be able to get a prosthetic to replace some of the function of a missing limb. A transtibial prosthesis is a below-the-knee artificial limb. Improved designs, new materials, and technology can help individuals recover more movement and function with a prosthetic but they can still be limiting for many patients. 

Hospital Infection Malpractice

Keeping patients safe from hospital-acquired infections requires action from both hospital administrators and staff. If you suspect that you or a loved one might have contracted an infection during a hospital stay, contact the team at Gilman & Bedigian. Fill out an online case evaluation form or call (800) 529-6162 today to talk to our team. 

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