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Malpractice case wins big following bypass surgery

A Williamson County jury awarded almost $2.5 million dollars in medical malpractice to the family of a woman who died following bowel obstruction, possibly related to gastric bypass surgery. The 47-year-old nurse had been suffering from back and abdominal pain after having been treated in a local hospital's emergency room. She died early in 2007.

The patient had undergone gastric bypass surgery two years prior. According to legal representatives, a common complication following this surgery is bowel obstruction. She had been married for 24 years to her husband and had a son and grandchild. The deceased was a nurse at a medical center in Anna.

The lawsuit was filed in 2009, and charged the emergency room doctor, as well as the group that he was affiliated with, a medical emergency services agency. The nurse was a resident of Cobden and passed away at Carbondale Memorial Hospital.

Medical personnel named in the suit were unavailable for comment. The trial began on Nov. 5 and the serving jury reached a settlement of almost $2.5 million dollars following only two hours of deliberation. The reward was based on actual damages, as punitive damages are not allowed in Illinois for malpractice suits.

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The husband stated he was satisfied with the verdict, although he realizes it won't bring back his wife. He added that he hoped the suit that might bring more focus on surgical error or missed diagnosis, so that others would not suffer the same fate as his late wife. Most people don't think of the potential complications that can occur when they have surgery. We just cross our fingers and trust our educated professionals. But people are just human and doctors often mistakes. We don't think it will happen to us, but it can. Exercising sound judgment in all medical decisions is a responsibility that falls on all of us.

Source:  bnd.com, "Jury awards multi-million dollar verdict in medical malpractice case" BETH HUNDSDORFER, Nov. 21, 2013

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