Wrongful Death Following Surgical Error

Our Atlanta, Georgia Medical Malpractice Attorneys saw news about a recently settled wrongful death lawsuit over the death of a patient from a laparoscopic cholecystectomy.  The merits of the case will never be decided by a court because of the settlement, but the family received more than $1 million in the deal. 

The case came from the death of 67 year old Trellis Basham at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Atlanta in July 2010.  Dr. Alexander Park performed a laparoscopic cholecystectomy but found complications from scar tissue blocking the gallbladder so stopped the laparoscopic procedure and started open surgery.  During the more invasive open surgery, Ms. Basham started bleeding profusely and Dr. Park found a tear in one of her veins.  Dr. Park brought another doctor in to fix this tear but Ms. Basham had already lost too much blood.  She died in intensive care at the hospital not long after the surgery was finished.

After her tragic death, her grown children filed the wrongful death lawsuit against Dr. Park and Georgia Surgical Associates, his employer.  The Bashams claimed that Dr. Park was in a rush during the surgery and tore the vein open by putting in a medical instrument, called a trocar, without properly seeing what he was doing.  The trial proceeded, and was stopped with the settlement agreement while the jury was deliberating on the case.

Dr. Park still claims he did nothing wrong, but did admit that the procedure he followed with Ms. Basham was not the standard one for non emergency laparoscopic procedures.  He admitted that the instrument in question, the one that allegedly tore Ms. Basham’s vein, should have been inserted after a procedure using what is called a Veress needle in the abdominal area to create space around the organs, but that he skipped this important step with Ms. Basham.  Court records stated that a defense expert witness, Dr. Joseph Mims, explained how skipping this step did not deviate from the standard of care for the doctor, but it was “extremely rare” for a surgeon not to take this step.

We will never know what the jury would have decided if the settlement had not been agreed to.  Regardless, this case shows the need for doctors to take all the steps necessary to protect their patients, including during less invasive laparoscopic procedures and open surgery.


Atlanta Medical Malpractice Attorneys

If a loved one has tragically died unnecessarily, including through medical negligence like in the case above, the experienced personal injury attorneys at Sammons & Carpenter can help you understand your case.  Legal action can never repair the loss of losing a loved one, but it can help get compensation so the family does not have to worry about medical bills and final costs during their grief.

Cases involving medical negligence are often complicated and involve expert witnesses, so hiring a competent attorney are crucial.  Contact the Law Office of Sammons & Carpenter today at 404-991-5950, or fill out our confidential online case evaluation form for a free consultation.

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