Jury Awards $3 Million to Family of Man Who Died after Delayed Surgery

Surgical malpractice lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm report that an Alabama jury recently awarded a deceased man’s family $3 million and held the surgeon negligent for delaying his gallbladder surgery. The 56-year-old man was hospitalized three separate times for severe gallbladder pain.

The man, Alan Hagar, was first admitted to Brookwood Medical Center in late November 2008 complaining of severe gallbladder pain. According to the lawsuit, all doctors involved in his treatment agreed on the first day that his gallbladder needed to be removed. Despite this, for reasons unclear, Hagar was discharged from the hospital two days later, without having undergone the surgery.

Hagar was re-admitted to the hospital another two days later, on November 29, where he stayed until December 5. His surgeon, Dr. Mirelman, continued to delay his removal surgery during that time. Again, on December 9, he returned to the hospital’s ER, citing severe and consistent pain in his gallbladder. He remained in the hospital for more than two weeks without resection surgery, finally dying on Christmas Day.

For various unjustified reasons, Dr. Mirelman repeatedly denied his patient the surgery that could have saved his life. As a result, Hagar was forced to be repeatedly admitted and discharged to the hospital over a 30-day period, ultimately resulting in his death. Hagar’s widow initially named about a dozen physicians and medical centers in her lawsuit, which was ultimately boiled down to Dr. Mirelman and Birmingham Surgical.

During the course of the trial, Mirelman attempted to argue that Hagar died of cardiac arrest and other natural causes; however, his death certificate and autopsy report affirmed that he actually died from a pus-filled gallbladder with severe inflammation and infection.

In related news, a woman in Michigan recently sued Trinity Health Michigan and two doctors for failing to diagnose lesions on her kidney. The woman, Marie Huddleston, underwent a CT scan of her abdomen in 2003. The scan revealed the presence of a kidney lesion, although the lesion was never revealed to her. Five years later, Huddleston again underwent a CT scan of her abdomen, which showed that the lesion had significantly expanded and become cancerous.

In her complaint, Huddleston alleged that her doctor, Joyce Leon, delayed in diagnosing her kidney cancer, ultimately resulting in the removal of her entire kidney. Had her cancer been diagnosed previously, in 2003, she would have only had to undergo a partial kidney removal.

There is certainly no question that the delay of diagnosis directly led to the cancer growth. An increase in the size of a cancerous tumor, such as Huddleston’s, results in the spread of those cancer cells into tissue that was once, and should have remained, healthy. Therefore, the delay in diagnosis is an injury in and of itself. Huddleston’s expert testified that, had her kidney been operated on in 2003, as it should have, only about 10 to 20% of it would have been removed, meaning at least 80% of it would have remained intact and fully functioning.

Medical malpractice lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm encourage anyone seriously injured through the negligence of a doctor, nurse, hospital, or any other healthcare professional or facility, to consider pursuing legal action. You may be entitled to significant compensation for past and future medical bills, mental anguish, lost wages, or wrongful death. Our attorneys have decades of experience advocating on behalf of malpractice victims, and can ensure you will receive the best representation and largest settlement possible.