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When routine medical, surgical procedures result in serious harm to patients, P.1

One important point that every patient needs to be aware of is that every medical and surgical procedure presents risks to the patient. The nature and seriousness of the risks depends, of course, on various factors, including the patient's condition, the proposed treatment, the overall health condition of the patient, the resources of the medical facility where treatment is being offered, the skill of the doctor and other staff, and so on.


In some routine medical and surgical procedures, the risks are low enough for most patients that it can be a shock when something goes seriously wrong. Tonsillectomy, for instance, is a very common surgical procedure--the third most common procedure on children in the United States. The vast majority of these surgeries occur without incident, but serious complications do sometimes occur. 

Take, for example, the case of a Detroit family whose 9-year-old daughter died in December following a routine tonsillectomy.  According to medical reports of the incident, it isn't clear what exactly caused her death, but complications from anesthesia, an unknown heart condition, or an obstructed airway may have been to blame.

As should be expected, the family's attorney has said they are looking for answers as to what the anesthesiologist and the assisting nurses know about the incident, and what exactly occurred that day. Getting to the bottom of such matters is not necessarily an easy task, though. We've previously written on this topic, and the importance of working with an experienced medical malpractice attorney to overcome obstacles to obtaining medical records in medical malpractice litigation, as well as other obstacles.

In our next post, we'll look a bit more at the issue of liability in the context of routine medical and surgical procedures. 

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