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Wrongful death claim filed after new information comes to light

Too many Illinois families know what it is like for a family member to go into the hospital and never come out again. Losing a loved one can be difficult enough when medical personnel do everything right in an attempt to save that person's life, but when the loss is due to a mistake made by hospital staff, the death can be even more devastating. One family did not find out until years later that mistakes made by his surgeon led to his death, and now a wrongful death claim has been filed against the hospital where he died and where the doctor practiced.

The 77-year-old man went into surgery for a heart bypass and to repair a valve in his heart in Aug. 2011. During the procedure, he bled excessively, and he died the next day. It was not until 2015 that the family was informed that the medical review board in the state where the surgery was performed determined that his death was due to surgical errors. Reports indicate that the surgeon continued to attempt to harvest an artery for the bypass when he should have switched gears and taken a vein instead. Furthermore, the patient was left on the heart-lung machine for an excessive amount of time.

Sadly, this Wisconsin man was not the only victim of this particular surgeon. In July 2011, a 61-year-old woman died after being operated on by the same surgeon. The hospital called in an independent consultant that year to review the surgeon's seven cases since two of them died while under his care. The surgeon was ultimately fired. The family claims that they were not informed of the errors made in their loved one's surgery until a reporter writing a story on doctor discipline in Wisconsin came to their door last year.

The family's wrongful death claim alleges that they should have been informed of the errors, along with the fact that the surgeon was fired. Under similar circumstances, Illinois residents would most likely agree. When an individual dies in the care of a hospital and its staff, that person's family has the right to know whether medical errors contributed to his or her death so that they can take the appropriate legal action.

Source:, "Family sues Meriter over death after surgery by doctor who was fired", David Wahlberg, Aug. 16, 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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