The mere thought of surgery causes many to cringe. Several think of the mistakes that can happen when a surgeon operates on the wrong body part, makes a wrong incision, or leaves a foreign object inside the patient. While these events do happen, and much more often than they should, even the seemingly slightest mistakes can have devastating consequences.

A Fort Lauderdale jury has slapped two doctors with a $38.5 million verdict in a surgical error case. The suit was brought by a man after a procedure known as manipulation under anesthesia went terribly wrong. According to the lawsuit, the victim never needed the procedure and, when the anesthesiologist and a doctor failed to heed warnings provided by medical equipment monitors, the victim suffered from a lack of oxygen for at least five minutes. The surgery mistake resulted in brain damage that has left the victim in a vegetative state and unable to communicate except through blinking his eyes.

While checking equipment monitors and acting on the information they provide may seem like an easy step, failure to do so is tragic. The victim in this case can no longer be the father he wants to be to his two children and will never be able to work to help provide for them. Fortunately, the legal system offered him help in the form of a medical malpractice suit.

When a medical professional makes a preventable mistake in the operating room, a victim may obtain compensation if he can prove his injuries resulted from the professional’s mistake. With awards obtained from a successful lawsuit, the victim’s family can be provided for and medical care can be afforded. Though the money may not make the family the same as before the accident, it can help make life a little more comfortable and less stressful.

Source: South Florida Times, “Jury Hits 2 Doctors with $38.5M in Medical Negligence Verdict,” Mohamed Hamaludin, May 23, 2013