As anyone who has been following health news in the last few years knows, medical malpractice is rampant. But what fewer people know – except perhaps those of us who sue doctors for a living – is that medical malpractice cover-ups are also rampant.
Here’s a recent example of a med mal cover-up that made headline news. (But note there is no way of knowing how many med mal cover-ups go on since many of the cover-ups surely succeed).
During a 2004 brain surgery on a 15-year old seizure-prone boy, the surgeon realized he had cut into and removed a section from the wrong side of the brain.
This was apparently a high-profile surgery: A reporter and photographer from a local newspaper were observing the surgery. When the error was discovered, the reporters were ordered out of the viewing area with no explanation as to why.
The reason they were “turned out” turns out to be that the doctor and his staff wanted to keep the error hush hush. After the press left, the surgeon went on to perform the correct procedure on the other side of the brain.
After the surgery, the doctor and his staff went on to fraudulently conceal the error from the boy’s family, including by altering surgical and medical records.
The error was no small matter. It caused permanent brain impairment. The family never understood what had caused the impairment until years later when an unrelated examination revealed that a segment from the wrong side of the brain had been sliced and removed.
Just a few weeks ago, the medical malpractice lawyers for the child – who by then was an adult – won a multi-million dollar verdict for him.
Even “tort reformers” generally opposed to medical malpractice lawsuits would have to admit that this was a legitimate case. There are many legitimate medical malpractice lawsuits. Think you have one? Call us to find out.
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Michael G. Bersani, Esq.