He had been on blood thinners prior to surgery. His doctor told him to stay on his coumadin and while in the hospital they would stop it right before surgery.

That’s exactly what they did.

The surgery went well. Post-operatively nobody put him back on his blood thinners. In the days leading up to the surgery while he was in the hospital his doctor was watching his INR levels. That checks to see how effective the blood thinner is working.

His levels were good prior to surgery.

By the way, in case you don’t know, blood thinning medication is given to patients who are at risk for developing a blood clot. By thinning out the blood, it reduces the likelihood of the blood clotting, creating a life-threatening collection of blood that clogs off a vein or artery.

Getting back to this patient, while he is in the hospital recuperating following his surgery, his INR levels become abnormal. His doctor fails to recognize this. 

Unfortunately for the patient, he no longer had the coumadin working in his blood system. That meant he had a significant risk of developing a blood clot. The problem was that no doctor caring for him picked up on this important fact.

One evening, days after the surgery, the patient was found dead in his room. Nobody could explain why he died. The surgery was successful. He had no obvious problem prior to his sudden death.

His death warranted an autopsy. In case you are unaware, an autopsy is a procedure done by a doctor known as a medical examiner or a pathologist. They examine the entire body with the goal being to try and identify why the patient died.

It was not until an autopsy was done that the patient’s cause of death was revealed.

Examining the lungs during the autopsy revealed a massive blood clot to the lungs. This particular blood clot was known as a “Saddle embolus.”

One of his surviving sons thought nothing of this, until he had a conversation with me.

The interesting thing about this conversation was how it happened.


I was having a computer problem. My computer was not talking to my secretary’s computer. I couldn’t figure out why. I finally decided to get a trusted recommendation for a computer expert to come in and diagnose my problem.

This computer expert came to my office and began working on my computer. While he’s diagnosing the problem and fixing it, we started talking. He didn’t know what I did. I explained that I help get injured victims compensation for injuries caused by wrongdoing of a doctor or hospital.

That’s what triggered his story about his dad. 

I told him that it was unusual for the doctor and hospital not to have put his dad back on the blood thinner. He asked me if I could look into his dad’s matter. I said “Sure.”

Turns out, after getting all of dad’s medical records and reviewing them as well as having a urology expert review them, did I learn he had a valid medical malpractice case.

At the son’s request, I proceeded forward with a lawsuit in behalf of his family.

During the course of the lawsuit I had an opportunity to question dad’s urological surgeon; the one who performed the surgery and followed him in the hospital after his surgery.

I was able to get dad’s urologist to finally admit that dad should have been put back on blood thinners immediately after his surgery. This doctor actually admitted that if dad had been put back on the blood thinners after the surgery, in all likelihood, he would not have developed this massive pulmonary saddle embolus and would be alive today.

Once I had that testimony, it was only a matter of time before the defense agreed to settle this case.

Gerry Oginski
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NY Medical Malpractice & Personal Injury Trial Lawyer
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