Man Dies of Post-Op Hematoma, Hospital Lies and Loses $4 Million in Lawsuit
In 2010, a 42-year-old man underwent cervical spine surgery to have a disc removed. Twelve hours later, he began suffering symptoms of a post-operative hematoma, which the doctor misdiagnosed as a sore throat. The patient died in the emergency room hours later, according to sanluisobispo.com.
Since the surgeon saw the patient die, the county coroner’s office refused to do an autopsy. With the permission of the man’s wife, the hospital hired an outside agency to conduct one. That pathologist claimed the patient died of a fatty liver, which falls under natural causes.
The patient’s wife was skeptical, so she had someone else conduct an autopsy that revealed her husband died from a hematoma, which was easily treatable.
Eight months later, she filed a lawsuit for “malpractice, wrongful death, fraud, conspiracy and cover up,” per sanluisobispo. March 5, 2014, the site reported “[t]he jury voted 10-2 that the hospital had conspired to commit fraud and awarded damages for the emotional distress it caused [the patient’s] widow and son.” It ordered the facility to pay $4 million in damages on that count but was one vote shy of a medical malpractice verdict.
What Is a Hematoma?
As MedicineNet has stated, “a hematoma is a collection of blood outside of a blood vessel. It occurs because the wall of a blood vessel wall, artery, vein or capillary, has been damaged and blood has leaked into tissues where it does not belong. The hematoma may be tiny, with just a dot of blood or it can be large and cause significant swelling.”
Hematomas are “a very common potential complication of surgery,” as nmh.org has said. But if a hematoma goes untreated and blood is allowed to continue to leak, surrounding tissues may become inflamed. In the case above, the patient had difficulty breathing and swallowing, and his voice changed due to this inflammation.
Did a Hospital Cover Up the True Cause of Death of a Loved One?
If you believe a hospital falsified a loved one’s cause of death, attorney Chris Mellino welcomes you to contact our Cleveland office with your questions before Ohio’s statute of limitations expires on your potential claim.