Usually getting your tonsils out means a routine, outpatient surgery and all the ice cream you can eat. The tragic death of 12-year-old Carly Jane Liptak during her tonsillectomy two years ago shocked Floridians who wondered how this could happen to an otherwise healthy girl.
Doctors claimed that “complications of tonsillitis” killed Carly, but her parents have now filed a medical malpractice suit claiming negligence. The Tampa Bay Times reports that six minutes after the ear-nose-throat specialist started removing Carly’s tonsil, “bloody froth came up the breathing tube”, which should have been a “medical red light” but the doctor didn’t stop. Three hours later, Carly Jane Liptak died.
The facts of Carly Jane Liptak’s case seem to indicate a surgical error, in that the doctor did not stopping operating even after abnormal warning signs occurred. Some other signs of medical malpractice may include the following:
Misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis. Some of the more common misdiagnoses include failing to diagnose cancer, not accurately diagnosing an impending heart attack, and failing to diagnose appendicitis. A delay in diagnosis could lead to undue injury to the patient if the illness or injury is allowed to progress rather than being treated at an earlier stage. A classic example is not catching cancer at an early stage.
Prescribing the wrong medication. The doctor is responsible for ensuring that the medicine he or she is prescribing will not only help your condition, but also won’t harm you in other ways.
Delegating work to unqualified or inexperienced personnel. Hospitals have a duty to take reasonable care in running the hospital and caring for their patients, including hiring enough competent staff.
Failure to obtain patient’s informed consent. A doctor is supposed to inform you of your condition, the nature of the proposed treatment, the risks of treatment, and alternative options, if any.
All health care practitioners, including doctors, nurses and hospitals have a legal duty to provide you with proper medical care. If they fail to give the proper care, you can sue them for medical malpractice. Health care providers are negligent if they do not give you the standard of medical care that a reasonable provider would give you in similar circumstances. If such negligence causes your injuries or illness, the provider may be liable to you.