A simple procedure turned into a nightmare for a woman in a Long Island hospital. What was supposed to be standard removal of an ectopic pregnancy cost her both legs and most of her hearing when a surgeon allegedly made a surgical error.

In 2009, the 33-year-old single mother almost lost her life due to medical negligence, her attorney recently told a jury. A surgeon punctured her colon during the removal of an ectopic pregnancy. After that, her health declined rapidly when she contracted a blood infection and spent 73 days in intensive care, going into cardiac arrest three times. She later underwent skin grafts and a colostomy. She lost most of her hearing as a side effect of the antibiotics that were used to control infection. Finally, she contracted gangrene, which led to the amputation of both legs.

Despite the medical problems she endured, doctors contend nothing went wrong in the procedure and deny puncturing her colon. They say the five-millimeter hole in her colon was the result of a bowel condition. She claims, however, that she had complained of fever, pain and an abnormal heart rate soon after the operation, all of which might indicate new infection.

The woman is now largely wheelchair-bound but can use prosthetic limbs to move around. She and her mother are awaiting the jury’s decision on her lawsuit against the physician and hospital. If the jury decides medical negligence did occur, the issue of monetary damages will then be decided separately.

The woman’s case is an example for patients in Connecticut about how to address a condition caused by medical negligence. Patients should be aware that a medical malpractice lawsuit can lead to a monetary award for physical and emotional distress as well as to meet the needs of continued medical care.

Source: New York Daily News, “Woman Lost Legs Because Of LI Hospitals Negligence, Lawyer Tells Brooklyn Jury,” John Marzulli, Nov. 4, 2013