If your tummy just happened to catch fire during a C-section (yes, I said catch fire) and caused you permanent, painful napalm-like burn injuries, would you wonder if your doctor made some kind of mistake? In fact, would you wonder if he was a witch practicing some form of hell art?
This is pretty much the story of a Crouse Hospital medical malpractice case filed in Onondaga County, New York. The patient knew something was wrong when, as the doctor cut away down there, she started smelling something burning. Little did she know it was her! When she mentioned the smell to the doc and nurses, they responded, “nothing to worry about”, but then there was smoke. And where there’s smoke, there’s fire. “I see the smoke,” her mother said, who was standing right beside her.
Apparently, an electrical cauterizing tool the doctor was using lit the alcohol-based antiseptic they had spread on her skin. This was a risk the manufacturer had warned the Hospital about just a month before the surgery, and had given specific instructions on how to avoid, but clearly the instructions were ignored.
If this story is not bizarre enough already, wait, there’s more! If you sued your surgeon and the hospital staff for setting you on fire, wouldn’t you expect them to roll over and cry, “how much do we owe you”? You wouldn’t expect them to defend the medical malpractice case you brought against them, would you? After all, what defense can there be to setting your patient on fire!?
Welcome to the amazing world of medical malpractice defense. Think there are frivolous lawsuits? What about frivolous defenses. Listen to this perfect example of lawyer double talk coming from the mouth of Crouse Hospital’s lawyer: “Crouse takes full responsibility for [the patient’s] injuries, but does not admit it was negligent”. Huh?! Excuse me, if you take “full responsibility” for the patient’s injuries, how can you not admit you were negligent? That’s like say, gee, I sure screwed that up, but it wasn’t my fault!
Even the patient’s plastic surgeon appears outraged at his fellow medical providers’ defense of the case. He wrote, “I certainly cannot understand the rationale of defending it.”
Maybe it really is not their fault. Maybe, through no fault of their own, these doctors and nurses just landed in the wrong profession. They should have been a welders.