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Surgeon says "I'm sorry for your complication. I didn't mean for this to happen." Is the apology enough to prevent you from suing him?

Let's face it. No surgeon goes into surgery thinking that he's going to cause a patient harm. I think we all recognize that.

However, there are instances where a signficant complication occurs and now the patient will suffer major injuries and the need for additional surgery and corrective treatment to fix the problem.

What happens when the surgeon comes into your room the next day and has a blunt conversation with you?

"Mrs. Jones, I'm sorry to tell you this, but I encounted a signficant problem during your surgery. I accidentally cut an artery near where I was operating and as a result you lost 6 liters of blood. You needed emergency blood transfusions. I couldn't stop the bleeding. I had to call in a vascular surgeon. He couldn't stop it either. He needed to call in another surgeon. The problem was that during the repair, your liver was damaged as well as your kidney. You will need dialysis since we had to remove one of your kidneys..."

The surgeon then tells you what the risks are for having a compromised liver and kidney. He again apologizes.

You're shocked. You're bewildered. You're wondering whether this could have been prevented.

The doctor seems sincere. He sits with you. He holds your hand. He clearly didn't mean for this to happen.

Yet...

You're now going to be hospitalized for another 4 weeks because of this. You're going to need a lifetime of dialysis because of this. You're going to incur lots of medical bills for additional medical care and treatment. Your job will now be at risk because of the extra time you'll need to take for your dialysis- 3 times per week lasting 3-4 hours each time.

You will be at greater risk for damage to the remaining kidney since now you only have one kidney left.

The pain you will endure during the additional surgical procedures will not be pleasant.

My question to you will be:

"Is the surgeon's apology enough to prevent you from seeking compensation for your injuries, assuming of course that the reason for these complications are because of surgical errors and surgical mistakes that never should have happened?"

NEED HELP?

If you need help answering this question, call me. I answer questions like this every day. You can reach me at 516-487-8207 and I welcome your call.


Gerry Oginski
NY Medical Malpractice & Personal Injury Trial Lawyer