MEDICAL MALPRACTICE AND PERSONAL INJURY LAW BLOG

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Patient Files Medical Malpractice Claim Against Iowa Hospital After Surgery Related Stroke

Ardeth Wray brought a medical malpractice claim requesting $6 million in damages against the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinic (UIHC) in Iowa City after suffering post-surgical damage to her brain. Dr. Jeremy Greenlee detected a tumor, which was non-cancerous on the exterior of her brain in 2015. In some cases, this type of tumor can simply be monitored to be sure that no growth occurs; however, Greenlee determined that surgery would be appropriate.

The surgery was conducted to remove the tumor and titanium mesh was put in place to reinforce the skull. Approximately a month later, fluid began draining from the region and an infection developed. According to the UIHC Department of Infectious Disease, the problem should have been managed by replacing the titanium with new material.

Because the titanium meshing was not replaced, Wray was administered significant IV antibiotic treatment. Several months later, Wray was experiencing headaches and pain along the area of the surgical incision. Wray was admitted and surgery was conducted to replace the titanium meshing. Upon removal of the meshing, Wray suffered significant blood loss which caused a stroke. After surgery, she endured great difficulty in communicating and was placed in a rehab facility to work with therapists. Her problems with cognition have persisted along with periods of memory loss, headaches, and difficulty with vision.

Infectious disease is classified as a segment within the field of internal medicine, which is centered on management and diagnosis of infections. Often internists who specialize in the field are called upon to diagnose and treat more complex or rare infections. These physicians may practice in clinics that specialize in the area or they may partner with general practice physicians. In addition, those in the field may be hospital-based or serve in academic roles.

Infectious diseases are the result of organisms such as bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Although our bodies routinely house various organisms, the vast majorities are not harmful; however, opportunities do exist for them to become a source of disease. Transmission can occur between people or from insect or animal bites. Exposure to polluted food or water can also lead to development of the organisms. The majorities of infections are minor and merely exhibit symptoms of drowsiness or fever. Keys to prevention include frequent washing of the hands and having proper vaccines.

Until just recently, Iowa was among the few states that had no limitations on damages in medical malpractice cases. This changed with the enactment of a $250,000 cap applied to non-economic damages. These damages are defined by law as being those resulting from pain, inconvenience, disfigurement, loss of consortium, anguish, and others. Those who opposed the change felt that it was unnecessary because the number of malpractice cases in the state has fallen by nearly 40% over the last ten years, to rank among the lowest U.S states.

About the Author

Briggs BedigianBriggs Bedigian
Briggs Bedigian

H. Briggs Bedigian (“Briggs”) is a founding partner of Gilman & Bedigian, LLC.  Prior to forming Gilman & Bedigian, LLC, Briggs was a partner at Wais, Vogelstein and Bedigian, LLC, where he was the head of the firm’s litigation practice.  Briggs’ legal practice is focused on representing clients involved in medical malpractice and catastrophic personal injury cases. 

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