Such errors are considered so egregious that they're classified as "never events" because they should never happen. But they do.The reason to sue is to put the medical community on notice.
Baltimore, Maryland (PRWEB) January 16, 2013
A Baltimore City jury awarded a record $1.42 Million verdict against the doctor who removed the wrong ovary in a young med student, Nadege Neim, according to court documents (case number 24-C-11-006058 filed in Baltimore City Court in Baltimore, Maryland).
“If it can happen to a medical student … it can happen to anyone,” said Mrs. Neim’s attorney, Andrew G. Slutkin of the law firm of Silverman Thompson Slutkin & White. “It’s every woman’s worst nightmare.”
“We are pleased with the jury’s decision,” Mr. Slutkin added. “We believe the jury understood the severity of this case.”
"Ensuring that an X-ray isn’t flipped and that the right patient is on the table, for example, can often prevent mistakes such as amputating the wrong leg, performing the wrong operation or removing a kidney from the wrong patient. Such errors are considered so egregious and avoidable that they are classified as never events because they should never happen," said Mr. Slutkin. "But it does, and The Joint Commission, a group that accredits hospitals nationwide, estimates that wrong-site surgery occurs 40 times a week in U.S. hospitals and clinics."
According to the court records in June of 2009, Mrs. Neim, who was pregnant at the time, went to see her doctor, Dr. Maureen Muoneke, a Columbia, Maryland OB/GYN, to have an ultrasound performed.
The results of the ultrasound revealed that Mrs. Neim had an ovarian mass on her left side. Dr. Muoneke advised her that it was probably benign, but it could grow or rupture to become malignant.
Court documents show that on September 10, 2009, Mrs. Neim went in for another ultrasound. The results revealed that, although her right side was fine, the mass on her left ovary was still there. Dr. Muoneke recommended that Mrs. Neim have the left ovarian mass removed to prevent further complications.
On September 22, 2009, Mrs. Neim was admitted to St. Agnes Hospital in Maryland to have her left ovarian mass removed, according to the lawsuit. However unbeknownst to Mrs. Neim, Dr. Muoneke not only failed to remove the left mass but also instead removed her entire right ovary and fallopian tube.
Court records reveal that Mrs. Neim returned on October 14 for a post-surgery check-up, and complained of pelvic pain on her right side. Dr. Muoneke reviewed the pathology report with Mrs. Neim; however, she failed to inform her that she had removed the wrong ovary, as well as her right fallopian tube. In the next few days, Mrs. Neim continued to have extreme right-side pelvic pain, and Dr. Muoneke had still not informed her that she removed the wrong ovary.
Mrs. Neim, unable to endure the pain any longer, went to the Howard County General Hospital Emergency Department. It was there where she learned that Dr. Muoneke not only failed to remove the left mass but also had removed her right ovary and fallopian tube, court records show.
Mrs. Neim’s new gynecologist testified that "the wrong ovary was removed" during Dr. Muoneke’s surgery.”
"Mrs. Neim feels violated and can’t believe her doctor did this to her," said Slutkin.
Slutkin says contrary to what people think, the legal system typically offers little recourse: One study found that only a third of wrong-site cases result in a malpractice suit.
"The reason to sue is not only to recover Mrs. Neim’s losses but to put the medical community on notice so when our loved ones go in for surgery, we know they will be safe,” said Mr. Slutkin.
"The jury's verdict is believed to be the largest wrong-site verdict to date."
To schedule an immediate interview with Mr. Slutkin, please contact Karen McGagh, 443.632.4217
About Andrew Slutkin
Andrew Slutkin, a partner with Silverman, Thompson, Slutkin & White focusing on medical malpractice and other catastrophic injury cases and an adjunct professor at the University Of Baltimore School of Law teaching students about medical malpractice
About Silverman, Thompson, Slutkin & White
Maryland based law firm Silverman Thompson Slutkin & White, an AV rated law firm by Martindale-Hubbell, is widely regarded as one of the premier litigation firms in the mid-Atlantic region. They have achieved extraordinary success for their clients across Maryland and throughout the United States. For more information, please visit http://www.mdattorney.com.