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Family wants answers after teen left brain dead following surgery

The American healthcare system has earned the reputation of being the finest in the world. That reputation is built upon the outstanding patient outcomes that it produces, allowing for the surgical correction of many physical injuries and ailments that’s not possible in many other countries. So advanced is the science of medicine in the U.S. that the expectation for most patients receiving treatment in Providence or elsewhere around the county is that routine surgery will be just that: routine. Most are performed without any complications. When problems do arise, however, people want to know why.

A California family is currently asking that question after their 13-year-old daughter was left in a comatose state following a routine tonsillectomy. The girl emerged from the procedure appearing to be just fine, but her family soon noticed that something was definitely wrong. Unable to speak, she wrote notes to her mother saying that she felt like she was choking on her mucous. What she was choking on was actually blood, which she began coughing up in large amounts before going into cardiac arrest. She ended up on life support and was declared brain dead shortly thereafter.

While an investigation is underway to determine what led to the girl’s rapid deterioration, her family believes that a surgical error was the cause, They also claim that they were virtually ignored by the nursing staff immediately following the procedure, to the point of having to suction blood from the girl’s mouth on their own.

It may be easy for many to dismiss their claims as baseless accusations from a grieving family. Yet they, like others in similar situations, are entitled to know what happened to their loved one and to pursue action if they fell as though he or she was the victim of negligence. Anyone faced with such a situation may wish to work with a lawyer to fight for answers and for compensation, if needed.

Source: WRCB-TV “California 13-year-old ‘brain dead’ after tonsil surgery” Dec. 16, 2013

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