A rather unique medical malpractice recently went to trial involving the liability of an anesthesiologist for a severe infection following penile implant surgery. Specifically, the lawsuit alleges that the defendant surgeon failed to warn of known medical risks when performing this surgery on an individual with diabetes. It also alleges medical mistake and improper patient treatment. Although the subject matter in this case is somewhat unusual, our Illinois medical malpractice lawyers have extensive knowledge and experience with the underlying legal questions that it raises.
According to the Miami Herald, the plaintiff underwent a penile implant in 2007 in an effort to correct his erectile dysfunction (ED). His ED was the result of a variety of ailments, the most prominent being his diabetic condition and high blood pressure. This resulted in a serious infection that eventually necessitated the amputation of his penis.
Contrary to popular belief, this type of implant is not a cosmetic procedure, but is actually performed purely for functional improvement. The plaintiff elected this surgery after exhausting all other medical alternatives, and was not aware of the unlikely possibility of amputation. The lawsuit alleges that the surgeon’s performance was negligent because of the plaintiff’s diabetes and high blood pressure.
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To be successful in a medical malpractice case, a plaintiff must sufficiently establish four elements: the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty to perform medical care in accordance with industry customs, the defendant breached that duty by acting unreasonably, the defendant’s negligence was the cause of the injury, and lastly, that the plaintiff suffered damages from the injury. If the court finds that any of these elements are not satisfied, the court will dismiss the plaintiff’s case.
Among the most influential evidence that the defendant’s attorney is expected to present are medical studies that establish penile implant surgeries pose no greater risk to those with diabetes or high blood pressure than they do to otherwise healthy individuals. If the jury finds these studies convincing, this could greatly damage the plaintiff’s case.
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In an attempt to combat these studies, it is likely the plaintiff’s attorney will attempt to appeal to the jury emotionally. Juries, because they are made up of individuals, are susceptible to influence by such emotional ploys s. His attorney will likely emphasize the horrific nature of the amputation and the permanent pain that the plaintiff will endure as a result. This could have a strong effect on the jury. However, the relevance and admissibility of this information will likely depend on the third element of a medical malpractice claim: the cause of the infection that resulted in the amputation. The defendant claims that the infection leading to the amputation was caused by the plaintiff’s failure to adhere to specific post-operation instructions.
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Ultimately, the outcome of this case will likely hinge on expert testimony regarding the cause of the infection. Medical malpractice claims are highly technical in nature and require the help of an experienced medical malpractice lawyer. If you or a loved one is injured by a medical mistake, compensation may be available for lost wages, pain and suffering, and medical bills. More than 90,000 medical mistakes happen each year, and many of these mistakes are preventable. The justice system works to ensure that negligent medical professionals are held responsible for the injuries that they cause.
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