Carrie Vaughn, age 77, underwent a percutaneous biopsy of three right axillary lymph nodes at West Suburban Hospital. Carrie then developed a hematoma from bleeding at the site of the third lymph node and she was transferred to the emergency room and then to ICU for monitoring. When told that she may require additional surgery, Carrie and her daughter refused. Carrie’s vitals continued to decline and she continued to refuse to give permission for the additional surgery. Finally, many hours latter Carrie relented and was taken to emergency surgery where it was discovered that she had sustained a severed axillary vein and punctured axillary artery as a result of the lymph note biopsy. Carrie subsequently died from multi-system organ failure. The estate contended that the doctor failed to take adequate measures to obtain surgical consent to perform the surgery. The defense asserted that because Carrie was awake, alert and oriented, the doctor could not perform the surgery without her consent. Furthermore, without Carrie’s permission the doctor could not contact her family to obtain consent.
Verdict: Not guilty
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Category: Medical Malpractice, Other