Many people here in Connecticut are in need of a potentially life-saving transplant. Usually, a transplant is taken from a deceased donor, but occasionally, living donors are used for certain procedures. These surgeries can be successful in treating the ill person and may have no lasting adverse effects on the donor, but all too often surgical errors can occur, and a donor may lose his or her life. Recently, a case like this happened out of state, and the possible error of doctors has torn two families apart.
One man was in desperate need of a liver transplant that would save his life. His wife feared that he would die before a suitable donor was found, so her sister’s husband volunteered to be tested. The two men were a match and the surgery was scheduled. Unfortunately, complications arose during surgery, and doctors were unable to save the donor’s life. The man who needed the new liver has since passed as well, and the two sisters no longer speak to one another.
The wife of the donor began to investigate and is now pursuing a medical malpractice claim against the hospital and doctor who performed the surgery. She feels that she and her late husband were not properly educated on the risks of the surgery and also on the prognosis of the liver recipient, who did not live very long after the surgery. She feels that if her husband had known all the facts, he may not have decided to go through with the procedure.
Connecticut residents deserve to know all of the benefits and possible complications that could come from surgery like this. The fact that surgical errors are not common does not mean that they will never happen, and patients deserve to know exactly what the risks are. If a family finds themselves in a similar situation to this story, they may decide to file a medical malpractice claim on behalf of the deceased family member to offset any financial loss they have encountered. Hopefully, the family in this story can eventually find peace.
Source: The Boston Globe, Death of living liver donor is a calamity for two families and Lahey, Liz Kowalczyk, Feb. 2, 2014