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Widow files wrongful death claim alleging surgical negligence

Most Illinois residents of legal driving age are aware that they can donate their organs if they die in an accident. What they might not be as aware of is that there are instances in which a living person can donate an organ such as a kidney, bone marrow or part of a liver. While many people are rightly concerned about the person receiving the organ, the live person donating it is also at risk. For example, a widow in another state filed a wrongful death claim alleging surgical negligence in the death of her husband who was donating a kidney.

Last year, the woman's husband agreed to donate a kidney to his 69-year-old father. On April 16, 2015, he underwent the procedure to remove his kidney, which is called a laparoscopic donor nephrectomy. After the kidney was successfully removed, the victim's blood pressure fell, and he began losing a significant amount of blood.

The surgeon attempted to locate the source of the bleeding and stop it, but was unable to do so. The woman's husband died. When an autopsy was performed, it was determined that a ligature that was supposed to bind the stump of the victim's renal artery failed, which is what led to him bleeding to death.

The coroner's report will most likely be entered into evidence in the widow's wrongful death claim since it states that the alleged negligence of the surgeon was directly related to her husband's death. If the court determines that negligence led to his death, damages similar to those that would be awarded in a medical malpractice case here in Illinois could be ordered. No amount of money will bring her husband back, but it could provide her with some closure. In addition, it might prevent another family from losing a loved one.

Source:, "Lawsuit filed over kidney transplant death at Gulf Coast", Frank Gluck, March 31, 2016

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Q: What is medical malpractice?

A: Medical malpractice is negligence committed by a professional health care provider, such as a doctor, nurse, dentist, technician, hospital worker or hospital, whose treatment of a patient departs from a standard of care met by those with similar training and experience, resulting in harm to a patient...

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