I’ve previously written about my concerns of courts letting procedure prevail over substance in personal injury cases – usually in favor of the defendant. Last week, the Minnesota Court of Appeals handed down a case that underscores this problem in Bothun v. Martin LM, a medical malpractice lawsuit brought by the decedent’s surviving husband.
In 2008, a woman was diagnosed with an abdominal aortic aneurysm that required surgery. Before undergoing the necessary surgery, decedent began a regimen of blood thinners and had stents inserted into her heart. In January 2009, decedent had surgery. During the procedure there was a 32-minute loss of blood to her kidneys due to renal ischemia and transient hypotension. The patient was discharged five days after the surgery and no further complications were reported. In fact, her husband reported that she looked healthy when they were leaving the hospital. All seemed well.
Less than 24 hours later an ambulance rushed the decedent to the hospital and she was pronounced dead following CPR and other emergency procedures. The attending nurses reported that the decedent’s condition changed in a matter of minutes while they were deciding on a course of action for her care.