$550,000 Settlement for Surgical Negligence

Blume Donnelly attorneys Cynthia Craig and Mitchell J. Makowicz represented a woman, now 78 years old, who entered the hospital on December 7, 2004 for a routine same-day procedure. She was taken to the operating room, where a small cyst on her cheek was to be removed. After being sedated, the surgeon removed the lesion but encountered bleeding. When he activated an electric cautery device near the nasal canula with supplemental oxygen, it caused a flash fire that ignited the drapes on our client’s face. As a result of the fire, the woman sustained second and third degree burns and required plastic surgery. She was left with residual scarring, and has to use a device to keep her left nostril open. Suit was filed against all of the participants at the surgery, all of whom were responsible for the safety of the patient throughout the procedure: the surgeon, the anesthesiologist, all of the nurses and the hospital. After presenting expert opinions against the defendants collectively, the Court ruled before trial that the plaintiff must prevail at trial as a matter of law. The Court further ruled that each defendant had the obligation at trial to exonerate him or herself, or to be found liable. The matter settled for $550,000 just prior to trial.