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Tonsillectomy surgery gone wrong leaves girl brain dead

New Jersey residents may be interested in what happened to a 13-year-old girl who went in for a tonsillectomy. It's the third most common procedure for children in the U.S., but this alleged surgery gone wrong left the girl brain dead and her parents searching for answers. No surgery is 100 percent safe, no matter how many times it has been performed. This danger is the reason for the detailed consent forms that patients must fill out before they go under the knife.

The 13-year-old's mother said in a televised CNN interview that her daughter was perfectly healthy right before she went into surgery. Shortly after she woke up, however, blood began seeping from her nose and mouth. She then went into cardiac arrest that resulted in her being put on life support. All of this came from a tonsil removal, which is considered a common surgical procedure along with gall bladder removal, appendectomy and caesarian section.

A doctor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health said that almost any surgery, regardless of how routine it might be, can produce uncontrollable bleeding. Sometimes, in the most extreme cases, the patient can bleed to death.

Surgical errors run the gamut from a foreign object left inside a patient to improper organ transplant. A careless surgeon may expose a patient to risk of infection, a worsened condition or other serious injury. The result of doctor or hospital negligence could even be a fatal surgical error. Individuals hurt by negligent operating room staff, including the surgeon, may file a lawsuit seeking financial compensation for damages.

Source: CNN, "When routine surgeries go wrong", Jacque Wilson, December 19, 2013

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Alan D. Bell
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