The San Jose Mercury News reports on a medical malpractice lawsuit filed against the San Mateo Medical Center. Plaintiff alleges that his heart was permanently damaged after the center left a broken catheter in his heart and, even more seriously, that the hospital covered up the mistake. Although Plaintiff did not know about the catheter’s break -which is the size of a drinking straw – until July 2008, it was clearly visible on x-rays and scans more than two years before. The first operation to remove the catheter was unsuccessful. Open heart surgery was required during which a heart valve was destroyed and had to be replaced with a valve from a pig’s heart. To make matters worse, the plaintiff has cancer.
I do not know what happened here and I think medical malpractice cover-ups do happen. But this is actually a rare sighting for medical malpractice lawyers. The vast majority of doctors and hospitals accused of medical malpractice were trying to do the right thing… but didn’t.