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New York woman loses legs, sues hospital

Malpractice occurs when a doctor or hospital provides deficient treatment or misses a diagnoses of a medical condition that causes their illness to get worse or results in a new injury and medical concern.

An example of a this is happening in court right now as a New York woman wages a legal battle in a medical malpractice suit against a hospital on Long Island.

The 33-year-old woman nearly died in 2009 after suffering gangrene and blood poisoning, which she claimed occurred when a surgeon punctured her colon during laparoscopic removal of an ectopic pregnancy. She alleged that after developing sepsis following minor surgery at the hospital, she had to have both her feet amputated.

According to the woman, she went into cardiac arrest three times during her 73 days in the intensive care unit at the hospital. She underwent skin grafts, a colostomy and suffered hearing loss due to the strong antibiotics given to her to fend off the infection. After her feet were amputated at the ankle, on the 64th day of her hospitalization, both legs were amputated below the knee.

The woman's lawyer lays blame on the doctors for failing to discover the 5-millimeter hole in her colon which led to the infection, despite her complaints of fever, pain and an irregular heart rate after the procedure. While the doctors refute they punctured the intestine and explained it happened after the procedure due to a previous bowel condition, the defense lawyer said even if it did occur during the procedure, it is a known risk and not medical malpractice.

A jury of five women and five men will decide whether there was negligence. In addition, if negligence is proven, they will also decide the amount of monetary damages she will receive for her pain and suffering and continuing medical care.

Most doctors and other medical professionals are compassionate and capable people who work hard to take care of their patients. However, sometimes medical malpractice is caused by a doctor or hospital's lack of diligence, such as failing to do a specific test or giving an incomplete evaluation. However, simply because there was an unfortunate result does not mean there was malpractice. An experienced medical malpractice lawyer can help determine if injuries were caused by mistakes, and what the options are for those who are injured due to a medical professional's negligence.

Source: nydailynews.com, "Woman lost legs because of LI hospital's negligence, lawyer tells Brooklyn jury" John Marzulli, Nov. 03, 2013

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