My question involves medical malpractice in the state of: Tennessee
Hello everyone. I'm new to these forums. I've been wanting to post my questions about this thread topic for a couple months. However, due to the pain & suffering from losing a loved one I haven't been able to make myself visit the situation.
I just haven't handled losing my dad very well. There's been too much pain & heartache to really focus on a possible malpractice suit. However, I finally have gotten myself together recently along with my sister to focus on what we believe was the wrongful death of our dad.
I will be providing the story & time-line of our father's death in this post. I'll try to keep it as brief as possible but may need full details to show what has happened.
Our dads was diagnosed with Esophageal Cancer back in November of last year(2008). He went through the standard treatment of chemo & radiation for a few weeks. He lost tons of weight & was really malnutrioned during this time. He had already lost enough weight just due to cancer.
He went through surgery for the cancer after finishing the initial treatment options of chemo & radiation. The surgery performed was a TTE(Transthoracic esophagectomy). Specifically an Ivor Lewis TTE was done. Once the surgery was done our dad seemed to be doing quite well. As a matter of fact, he was doing better than expected for a 66-year old man. The staff at the hospital was shocked to how well he was doing.
However, on the 8th day after surgery our dad took a sudden turn for the worse. We were in shock to get a phonecall telling us that our dad was suddenly very ill. This happened on a Saturday morning around 8:00 AM. The doctors that performed the surgery(thoracic surgeon & oncology surgeon) wasn't there & was not gonna be there for weekend. They told us this on the Friday before this happened.
When I got to the hospital our dad was having a hard time breathing & appeared to me in shock or at least some heart or breathing problem. I thought he was dying right before my eyes. This was in the CCU part of the hospital. I wasn't supposed to back there but I was sneaking to peep & see what was happening. There was numerous staff working on my dad.
Finally, after a couple hours, one doctor came to us & told us they didn't know what was happening to our dad. They thought it may be a blood clot had developed in his lungs or chest area. They ordered a CT Scan but had to delay getting it done they said due to our dad's instability.
They wanted him to be stable before going for the CT Scan. That was about 6-8 hours later though. After the test results of the scan we were basically told there wasn't any blood clots & they still didn't know what was wrong. Keep in mind that his two surgeons weren't available.
Another surgeon on the job was called to get his opinion. This was a relatively young doctor. He studied the CT Scan & other lab results. He consulted with the family & we could tell from his tone he didn't know what was going on. We asked him if our dad was critical & something needed to be done soon? He said that something needed to be done because he was getting more critical by the hour.
He asked if we accepted him going back into the stomach to take a look & explore the possibilities? Of course, we wanted something done because our dad was getting worse by the hour. He did his Exploratory Laporatomy & came back to tell us that he found our dad's feeding tube wrapped around his intestines. This told me that the feeding tube was never physically placed right t begin with before his treatments started.
He said that he wasn't experienced enough to physically go into the chest/thoracic region to explor what might be happening there. He hoped that the feeding tube was the cause but wasn't sure. This was done Saturday night on the day of our dad's sudden turn. The next day(Sunday) our dad was now starting to look worse.
His eyes were starting to get blood shot & he was fading out of consciousness. He was getting in like a coma state. You could still see his eyes but it was a gazing stare & something I'll never forget.
On Monday, the regular surgeons showed up & said they couldn't believe what had happened. Well, we still wasn't told what was going on with our dad that day. They were giving him antibiotics & keeping him pain free they said. It wasn't until Tuesday that one of his surgeons stated to us that possibly it was an "anastomotic leak".
However, we wasn't told what action was going to be taken for it. These type leaks are fatal & I had read a little about them when researching the complications of this type surgery. We were finally told on Wednesday by our dad's medical oncologist(yes oncologist & not his surgeons) that they can confirm it was one of these leaks. We asked what was to be done to get it corrected. We was told that our dad was to unstable to go back into the area to try & fix it. Our dad was developing sepsis by the day.
He eventually on Friday passed away due to multiple organ failure due to the sepsis. They did attempt to use Dialysis starting on Wednesday evening to see if they could get his kidneys working again but to no avail.
We feel that there was negligence on the part of the hospital & surgeons causing our dad's death. There was nothing done to intervene & physically go back to fix the leak. There was time but no qualified doctors around to make a decision or even to do anything. Those two days that his surgeons were gone was critical.
We basically watched him die & there was nothing being done to save our dad. We were later told by one of the surgeons that our dad wasn't physically strong enough to withstand any type surgery again with his condition. Well, he was gonna die anyhow with what was happening to him so why wouldn't that chance be taken?
We are now in the process of waiting for a local lawyer to get back with us on a possible malpractice suit. We have taken him the medical records to review & that has been about 2 weeks now. I post here to get some analysis or opinions on how things went because we feel that there was definitely negligence involved here & this would fall under the "wrongful death" category. BTW, the lymph nodes taken from my dad had not one single indication of cancer after the surgery. The cancer itself didn't kill him so we feel it was the hospital & surgeons. Thanks! BTW, our dad had stage-2 cancer & hadn't spread to any other part of the body nor any lymph nodes nearby.