When people need surgery, they put their life in the hands of their surgeon. Sadly, even small mistakes in an operation can result in lifelong disability or even wrongful death. Medical malpractice only heightens the inherent risks associated with surgery, as a man in Florida recently discovered – twice.

The 68-year-old man opted for surgery to treat an ongoing problem with his digestive system that had been causing him discomfort for some time. He was told that after the operation to treat his condition, he would be well enough to return home in a matter of days. Unfortunately, this was not to be the end of his health concerns.

While recuperating from his surgery, the man was prescribed blood thinners to lower his blood pressure. Instead of being administered the drug that had been prescribed, the pharmacy delivered the wrong medication, after the man felt his heart racing and then “bells started going off at the nurse’s desk,” he thought that would be the worst of it all. He was wrong.

Over time, the man’s condition worsened. It was not until a CT scan was ordered five month later, that the surgical sponge was discovered. Surgery was performed at another hospital to remove the sponge, and another portion of intestine damaged by the mistake.

The man (who incidentally is a judge and hears many cases in a small town in Florida) rightfully brought legal action against the hospital, and the case settled out of court. The man was lucky to survive the ordeal, but is no longer able to partake of his lifelong passion for horse riding. The case settled for a reported $650,000.

This story highlights a terrible case of poor medical care and ultimately negligence. While the man did not lose his life, his life has been permanently altered. Legal action may help victims to find closure after an intense ordeal, and may also aid in the pursuit of monetary compensation for carelessness inflicted upon them.

Source: The Sun Sentinel, “Medical error causes judge more pain—and more surgery,” Sally Kestin, July 31, 2011