My father-in-law is 79 years old and has colon cancer. He had part of the colon (colonectomy??) removed a few years ago, and recently was having problems and was admitted to the hospital (same one where the first surgery was done) and they did a colonoscopy and detected a tumor, and was told he needed surgery. He went to a different hospital to get the surgery, and they removed the wrong part of the colon. During the colonoscopy done at the first hospital it was determined that the tumor was at the juncture of the small and large intestine, when it wasn't, it was at the previous surgical site. They mistook the narrow opening at the previous surgery for the valve between the large and small intestine. Now he is triple risk - not having the surgery he supposedly needed, being at an advanced age, and having to recover from an unnecessary surgery to have another surgery. Question: was anyone negligent? Do they make any measurements when they determine where surgery needs to be done, or do they just say its around so-and-so location?
1 Answer from Attorneys
It is difficult to determine whether negligent care was provided your father-in-law, much would depend on the operative report for the most recent surgery and what is described as the speciman removed. But, if a medical malpractice claim is pursued, it will be vigourously defended and would probably cost your father-in-law more in litigation costs than the second surgery will cost. I suggest you attempt to negotiate a resolution with the group that erroneously idenitifief the location of the tumor and try to avoid the burden of a lawsuit. If however your father-in-law's condition significantly worsens or he develops permenent complications, he would be best served by consulting with an attorney.