Hospitals and doctors are institutions that patients trust to treat them and cure their illnesses. However, it is distressingly common for a simple hospital visit to have unexpected adverse effects on a patient's health. Cases of inadequate training of hospital staff and negligent doctors can lead to serious and even fatal consequences.
Readers in Albuquerque may have heard the story of a 61-year-old army veteran who is currently seeking $10 million in damages from the federal government for medical malpractice. The Louisville-based veteran reportedly went to a Veterans Administration hospital in another state for necessary surgery on his genitalia. After the operation, a VA nurse placed ice packs on the man's groin to help reduce swelling and post-operation pain.
While application of ice packs may be standard procedure, the nurse responsible for his treatment left them on for approximately 19 hours. The inordinately long period of ice treatment caused frostbite, which was followed by gangrene. This required doctors to remove a five-inch section of the patient's genitalia. He continues to require medical care as a result of this procedure and will require reconstructive surgery to be able to properly urinate again. A claim filed through the Federal Tort Claims Act was rejected by the Department of Veterans Affairs in July.
Medical negligence can adversely affect a patient's life for a long time, as in the case of the 61-year-old Victims of medical errors that lead to worsened conditions need to be fully aware of their legal rights and options. In certain cases, a medical malpractice claim may be appropriate.
Source: KOB, "Ky. Man says VA treatment caused frostbitten penis," Brett Barrouquere, Oct. 2, 2012