Every time we enter surgery, we put our fate in the doctor’s hands. One wrong move could kill someone or make them paralyzed for life. For one New Haven resident, a doctor made a horrifying error that left her in a three-year coma.
The woman, now a New Haven art teacher, was hiking on vacation when she experienced terrible pain. Her face would go numb on the right side and often contort uncontrollably. Doctors identified the problem as encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain. She underwent surgery shortly after. The surgery involved the removal of fluid from her brain. The surgeon was to insert a shunt into her head to drain the fluid. Unfortunately for the woman, the doctor inserted the shunt incorrectly. As a result, the woman went into a three-year coma. This medical malpractice error nearly cost the woman her life.
After three years spent in a coma, the woman awoke to a new life. She couldn’t move any of her body parts and had to virtually re-learn how to live. From blinking her eyes to eventually mastering Photoshop, she recovered from her brain injury and now works at the New Haven public schools as an art teacher. She spends her time teaching kids the tricks of Photoshop and other computer programs. She will never forget the medical error that nearly cost her life. She feels she has a new purpose in life.
Victims of medical negligence have a legal right to compensation. Doctors are held to the standard of care of physicians in their field. A departure from that standard which leads to injury is malpractice.
Source: New Haven Independent, “She Awoke To A New Life – & A New Mission,” Melissa Bailey, March 8, 2013