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Withheld County, MA

In this medical malpractice matter, the plaintiff alleged that the defendant surgeon and the defendant hospital were negligent during the placement and removal of the Nuss bars in the decedent’s chest. As a result, the bars, which had become adhered to part of the heart, caused fatal bleeding when the removal was attempted. The defendants denied the allegations, and maintained that there was no deviation from acceptable standards of care, and the patient and his parents had given informed consent to the procedure, which carried risks.

The 17-year-old male decedent suffered from a medical condition commonly referred to as sunken chest. In order to correct the concavity, the patient had Nuss bars – surgical rods placed in his chest under the sternum to correct the condition. The patient complained of pain following the procedure, and it was determined, upon diagnostic imaging, that the rod had become disconnected from the plate on the left side. It was determined that the patient would undergo surgery to repair the Nuss bar. On March 30, he underwent the procedure performed by an orthopedic surgeon, but following the procedure, he continued to complain of pain and suffered pneumonia and a pneumothorax. On June 30, the patient was admitted to the defendant hospital and diagnosed with pericardial effusion and pericarditis. He underwent pericardiocentesis and antibiotic therapy. A CT scan suggested that the Nuss bar had possibly passed through the pericardium, but the bar’s precise location was unable to be determined. He was discharged on July 3, and readmitted on August 7 for removal of both the Nuss bars. The procedure was performed by the defendant pediatric surgeon. During the removal, bleeding was seen in the left thorax. A cardiovascular surgeon was called to emergently assist with the surgery. The patient’s heart stopped beating, and he died shortly thereafter, while still on the operating table. An autopsy determined that there was a 5 cm incision in the right atrium and a 1 cm sutured aortic laceration. There was blood located in the thoracic cavity and abdomen. The cause of the death was listed as exsanguinations due to aortic laceration during removal of displaced Nuss bars with pericardial adhesions. The plaintiff brought suit against the defendant surgeon, and the defendant hospital. As to the surgeon, the plaintiff allege that the defendants were negligent in failing to consult with a cardiovascular surgeon, considering that there was the possibility that the bar had adhered to heart.

The defendants denied the allegations and disputed that there was any deviation from acceptable standards of care, and maintained that the patient had given informed consent to the procedure.

The parties agreed to resolve the plaintiff’s claim for the sum of $________ prior to a trial in this matter.

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