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Family of surgery fatality awarded $1 million

A wrongful death lawsuit cannot diminish the pain associated with the loss of a loved one but can help mitigate some of their financial expenses. Recently, the family of a 35-year-old state Department of Transportation engineer agreed to a $1 million settlement for a surgical error during a routine procedure that led to her death.

The patient's mother and cousin filed the wrongful death lawsuit in 2015 against the surgeon and medical facility. They charged that the surgeon should have ceased the routine operation to remove a benign uterine growth, known as a fibroid, when complications arose during the surgery on Aug. 7, 2013.

The plaintiffs claimed that the surgeon did not respond to significant changes in the woman's blood pressure and heart rate for almost 30 minutes during the surgery. The patient underwent oxygen deprivation and cardiac arrest. She died the next day.

Although the patient died, the plaintiffs' attorney said that the surgery was normally an elective and non-life-threatening procedure where less than one percent of the patients suffer complications. The doctor performed the same procedure on the patient in May 2013. However, the plaintiffs claimed that the fibroid grew back.

A Cook County jury awarded $3 million to the woman's family. The case was settled for $1 million, despite the higher jury verdict, under a high/low agreement. This is a type of settlement that sets a minimum and maximum amount for monetary awards despite the verdicts of a jury.

Families who lose a loved one from medical malpractice may be entitled to compensation and damages. An attorney can assist with the filing of a lawsuit and to seek a judgment in court or after settlement negotiations.

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