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ARTICLE ID 192804

$________ – Medical malpractice – Anesthesiology negligence – Medical battery – Negligent Placement of Swan-Ganz catheter resulted in death of 71-year-old female during procedure – Failure to obtain appropriate informed consent – Wrongful death.

St. Clair County, IL

In this medical malpractice matter, the plaintiff alleged that the defendant anesthesiologist was negligent in failing to obtain the proper informed consent from the patient for the use of Swan-Ganz catheter and in the negligent placement of the catheter during the surgical procedure, resulting in the death of the patient. The defendant denied any wrongdoing and disputed the nature and extent of the plaintiff’s injuries and damages.

The plaintiff’s decedent was to undergo a coronary artery bypass procedure. The patient was given and signed an informed consent form for the use of a central venous line during the procedure. The defendant, however, used a Swan-Ganz catheter in lieu of the venous central line. When the catheter was inflated, the nurse noted blood in the endotracheal tube. The defendant doctor was called and could not locate the origin of the blood. The defendant proceeded with the bypass procedure. After the surgery, the patient was brought to recovery and started to crash approximately three hours later.

The doctor returned; attempted resuscitation and when he opened the patient’s chest to do an internal massage, there was a tremendous amount of blood. The plaintiff contended that the defendant anesthesiologist was negligent in injuring the decedent’s pulmonary artery during the initial stages of the procedure and failed to properly monitor the patient resulting in her death. It was confirmed that the patient’s pulmonary artery had been perforated. The plaintiff brought suit against the defendant doctor and his practice alleging that the defendant committed medical battery by using the Swan-Ganz catheter and by failing to obtain proper informed consent for the use of a Swan-Ganz catheter during the initial stages of the bypass procedure.

The defendant denied any negligence and disputed the plaintiff’s claims of injury and damages. The defendant attempted to argue that the two procedures were similar and no battery was committed. The court ruled that the two procedures were different medical procedures and required separate informed consent forms, which were not signed in this matter. The defendant also argued that the injury to the pulmonary artery was not the cause of the patient’s death; rather she had a bad heart that caused her death. Finally, the defendant disputed the nature and extent of the injuries and damages alleged by the plaintiff.

The matter proceeded to trial over a period of three days.At the conclusion of the trial, the jury deliberated for two hours and returned its verdict in favor of the plaintiff and against the defendant. The jury awarded the plaintiff the sum of $________ in damages. The plaintiff had previously settled his claim against the hospital where the procedure was performed for a confidential amount prior to the trial.

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