According to the latest data on gastrointestinal (GI) diseases and symptoms, an estimated 60 to 70 million people in the United States are affected by gastrointestinal diseases each year.
The most common gastrointestinal symptom that urged patients to walk into a clinic or hospital was abdominal pain – 15.9 million visits. The most common gastrointestinal diagnosis was gastroesophageal reflux – that accounted for a whopping 8.9 million visits. GI diseases are a source of significant mortality, morbidity, and cost in the US.
Endoscopy is a medical procedure that is relatively safe and rarely causes serious side effects. An instrument, known as an endoscope, is a long, thin tube with a miniature camera and light fitted to the end that allows a physician to take a look inside a patient’s body.
The endoscope, also known as a scope, is inserted through an opening in the body of the patient, making it easier for doctors to take a close look at organs from the inside. Endoscopy is used to examine the abdomen or pelvis, the esophagus and stomach, the large intestine, the urinary system, the lungs and joints.
As mentioned earlier, endoscopy is usually safe. In most cases, the risks associated with almost any type of endoscopy are typically low. However, there are still a few complications that can be caused by an endoscopy procedure.
Risks and Complications of an Endoscopy
If a patient needs to be sedated for an endoscopy procedure, the risks associated with anesthesia include patients suffering an adverse reaction to the medication that is used to sedate them in the event that the patient has an unknown allergy to the anesthesia.
Other risks associated with sedation include irregular heartbeat, low blood pressure, difficulty breathing, or feeling nauseous and sick once the anesthesia wears off. In some cases, patients can also feel a burning sensation at the site of the injection.
Some of the other common risks of an endoscopy are:
· Infection of the abdomen
· Puncture of the blood vessel or bowel
· Injury to bladder
· Injury to urethra
More specific complications that stem from an endoscopy procedure include the infection of body parts where the scope is inserted. This can lead to the requirement of at least one round of antibiotic treatment. In cases where the endoscope is inserted through the mouth and saliva or small food particles fall into the lungs, patients can develop infections like aspiration pneumonia in the lungs.
More serious complications include the perforation of organs that come into contact with the scope. This can also result in internal bleeding, which the doctor may need to treat with a blood transfusion or perform a surgical procedure to help in repairing any damage to tissues or an organ.
Some of the symptoms of endoscopy complications shortness of breath, severe and persistent abdominal pain, vomiting blood or black, tarry stools. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should immediately visit the nearest hospital or your doctor.
Widower Awarded $4.78 Million in Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
A jury in McLean County awarded a man who formerly lived in Pontiac $4.78 million in damages in a medical malpractice lawsuit related to his wife’s death.
The verdict in favor of the plaintiff Nathan Cain, now a resident of Missouri, came after a trial of nine days that involved a medical malpractice lawsuit against Digestive Disease Consultants of Normal and Dr. Thomas Deweert. The jury deliberated roughly 6 hours over 2 days.
According to the lawsuit, Cain’s wife, 38-year-old Candice died due to complications that arose from an endoscopic procedure that the gastroenterologist performed in April 2012. She died 4 months later.
Counsel for the defendants, Peter Brandt said that a tertiary hospital in Missouri, where Candice Cain was transferred provided poor care to the patient, but the care providers in Bloomington were blamed for the death as they were the only who were used by the plaintiff. He added that they would appeal the verdict.
Consequences of Suffering Endoscopy Complications
As mentioned earlier, potential complications that may arise during or after an endoscopy procedure include difficulty breathing, irregular heartbeat, low blood pressure, bleeding at the polyp or tissue removal site, nausea, perforation of the stomach wall or other site and infections.
If you have suffered from a complication from an endoscopic procedure, you will need to seek further medical attention up to and including a surgical procedure to take care of any injuries that you might have sustained during your initial procedure. However, in addition to your immediate medical requirements, there are other things that you need to think about.
You need to determine if the circumstances from which your complications arose were beyond your medical team’s control or if you sustained your injuries due to medical malpractice on the part of your doctor or other medical professional.
How to Know if Your Injuries Were Caused by Medical Negligence
Even if you experience one of the complications mentioned earlier, it does not automatically mean that it was caused by medical malpractice. In fact, an endoscopy comes with some unavoidable side effects. Instead, medical malpractice takes place when a doctor causes harm or injury to a patient by failing to adhere to the standard of a reasonably skilled doctor in the same specialty. To establish medical negligence or malpractice, you will need to show the following elements:
· The doctor owed you a duty of care to act in a manner that is consistent with their specialty;
· The doctor breached the duty of care owed to you;
· The doctor’s breach of that duty of care directly caused the harm or injury you suffered;
· As a result of your injury, you suffered identifiable costs and losses.
It is important to keep in mind that you must establish each of these elements before you, as the plaintiff, can recover damages. Medical malpractice lawsuits are civil cases, and you will need to file yours in a civil court.
Ledyard Man’s Estate Awarded $2.6 Million in Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
The family of a man from Ledyard, who died from a brain bleed at the William W. Backus Hospital in December 2012 after he was admitted for a simple procedure was awarded $2,650,000 in a medical malpractice lawsuit. The case was set to go to trial in New London Superior Court.
Kelley E. Reardon, attorney for Gary Wheelis’ estate, said that 63-year-old Wheelis was admitted to the hospital with a piece of chicken lodged in his throat two days before he died. He began to suffer symptoms of a stroke soon an endoscopy was performed and the blood thinner Heparin was administered, despite the fact that he was already taking two blood thinners – Aspirin and Warfarin – for irregular heartbeat, or chronic atrial fibrillation. This caused him to suffer a significant brain bleed, leading to his death.
Wheeli’s wife, Jean Wheelis filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against Backus Corporation, Neurodiagnostics LLC, Dr. Yahya Qureshi of Norwich Medical Associates and Dr. Anthony Alessi on behalf of herself and the estate. Pending in New London Superior Court since 2014, the case was set to begin jury selection in July when the two parties settled.
According to the lawsuit, Dr. Qureshi administered the Heparin. Reardon said that the first $2 million of the settlement was paid by the doctor’s insurance carrier and that Dr. Qureshi’s attorney had offered a settlement in January and Wheelis accepted in March. Reardon also said that due to a confidentiality agreement, she could not discuss who would be making the other $650,000 payment.
Dr. Alessi said that he would not be paying any money as he was not part of the settlement. Reardon said that Dr. Alessi and his practice as well as the hospital were withdrawn from the lawsuit.
Reardon also said that the Wheelis family was relieved that the ordeal was finally over and that they received fair and substantial compensation for the death of Gary Wheelis, who had a minor medical issue and should never have died.
Special Issues to Keep in Mind in Medical Malpractice Cases
It is important to be aware that there are special laws and procedural rules that are specifically designed to make it more difficult to sue a doctor than an "ordinary" defendant, including:
· A short statute of limitations, or deadline, to file your lawsuit.
· Pre-suit requirements, such as mandatory settlement negotiations, screening panels and expert affidavits that you need to file apart from the complaint you file initially.
· Expert witnesses who have experience in the particular health care field are required to testify on either party’s behalf.
· There might be a limit on the total amount of damages that you, as the plaintiff, can claim from a health care provider due to a medical malpractice damages cap in certain parts of the country.
Olympus Ordered to Pay $6.6 Million in Damages
Olympus Corp., the endoscope manufacturer, was ordered to pay Virginia Mason Medical Center $6.6 million in damages after a jury decided that the company failed to provide adequate instructions and warnings after manufacturing a since-recalled duoendoscope model.
The jury also found that the negligence of the Seattle hospital played a role in the death of Richard Bigler, who acquired an infection that was linked to a contaminated scope. The hospital was ordered to pay $1 million to his family, who filed the lawsuit against Olympus.
Determining Damages in an Endoscopy Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
As with any other type of medical malpractice lawsuit, there are a number of factors that need to be considered when it comes to the amount of damages you can recover in an endoscopy lawsuit. If you win your case, the amount of damages you recover will depend on the extent of the additional medical treatment you require and medical bills that stem from the malpractice, loss of income and other concrete expenses that you incur.
The dollar amount that the jury puts on your pain and suffering will play a major role as well. However, as mentioned earlier, you will also have to keep in mind that in some states, there are damage caps on how much a plaintiff in a medical malpractice lawsuit can recover, no matter what the jury awards.
Filing a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit for Endoscopy Complications
If you suspect that your endoscopy complications might have been caused by medical negligence, it is important to seek legal advice from a profound and stellar law firm or medical malpractice lawyer and there is no one better in this field on the east coast, in New York, than RMFW Law.
Due to the particularities of the law in medical negligence cases, the threshold for proving negligence or malpractice is significantly higher than it is in non-professional settings. Due to this, you need the expertise of an attorney who has handled cases like yours in the past.
After you meet with an attorney experienced in medical malpractice cases, you can decide if you want to file a lawsuit against the doctor or other medical professionals who performed the endoscopic procedure that you suspect resulted in the injuries you suffer. If you have a strong case, the legal representatives of the defendant may decide that it is more cost efficient to offer you an out-of-court settlement so that they can avoid going to trial. It is up to you to decide if you want to accept the settlement or go to trial.
RMFW Law Knows Medical Malpractice Law
If you or a loved one has been injured or suffered complications due to a medical professional’s negligence during or after an endoscopic procedure, you should immediately seek the help of an experienced medical malpractice attorney who has handled cases involving endoscopies.
Medical malpractice cases are complex and require resources, thorough investigation of evidence, expert witnesses, etc., which is why it is important to have an experienced attorney by your side. After your legal pro has assessed your case, they will determine if you have a viable case and begin the process to filing a medical malpractice claim against the negligent doctor or medical staff.
Protect your rights and make sure that you recover fair compensation for the injuries you have suffered due to medical negligence in an endoscopy procedure. Contact Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff, & Wolff, of RMFW Law at 212 697 9280 to find a genuine and respectable legal counselor to handle your case.
We know these cases well. They are hard to win and you will need a medical expert to back up your claim or you will not have one. It is that simple. We know some medical pros to call. Let’s start on this case. Let’s see if your claim is viable.
If your case is viable RMFW Law will fight for your claim all the way to the end. We know the tactics the other side will likely employ. There is no reason to holler at the medical staff, most likely none of them are the culprits here; the culprit will probably not come around you anymore. They would have been reassigned by their bosses and you may need someone in that clinic or hospital to side with you months later. This is now a legal matter, not so much a medical one anymore. Call us today!