$1.2 Million Recovered for Bleeding Complication that Caused Death

The preventable death of our client’s 55-year-old wife and the mother of his three children resulted in a $1.2 million recovery when her surgeons failed to timely diagnose and treat internal bleeding during her lumbar surgery in Dutchess County, New York.

A partial blockage of the external iliac vein, the main blood supply to the lower body, was detected by surgeons during her anterior lumbar fusion, the first stage of the operation. Her surgeons could not detect a pulse in her left foot and the skin on her left leg appeared discolored or mottling; both are symptoms of internal bleeding. 

As her surgery continued to the second stage or posterior lumbar fusion, her doctors again observed discoloration of her left leg and an absence of a pulse in her left foot. Her surgeons ended the operation and sent her to recovery. While in recovery, she appeared pale and asked family members, “Am I dying?” 

Two hours later, with her blood pressure dropping, she was returned to surgery, but died from internal bleeding that led to hemorrhagic shock and DIC, a rare condition in which small blood clots develop throughout the bloodstream, blocking small blood vessels. 

The death of a wife and mother could have been prevented had her surgeons:

  1. Responded in a timely manner to the signs and symptoms of internal bleeding. 
  2. Ended the operation until the bleeding stopped.
  3. Consulted with expert vascular surgeons. 

“Failing to timely diagnose and treat internal bleeding during surgery led to our client’s wife’s death, a tragic death that was totally preventable had her doctors followed best medical practices,” said John H. Fisher.