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My Wife, who has cancer , was sent by her oncologist to a surgeon,to…

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My Wife, who has cancer...
My Wife, who has cancer , was sent by her oncologist to a surgeon,to have two lymph nodes removed. The operation was done and all appeared in order. The day before she was due to be discharged the Doctor informed me, that he would need to operate again as her bowel was 'distended'.The second operation was done , and she was sent home a few days later .(I still do not know what happened in that second op!!)A few days later she was vomitting and I called the Doctor who readmitted her as he was concerned about dehydration. A day later a friend called notify me that this Doctor had operated on two people ( one I believe was at the end of last Year) where he had 'nicked' the bowel during the op, and the patients had died. I therefore wanted a second opinion and had to move her to another hospital under another Doctor, to do so. It was diagnosed that she had indeed had a perforated bowel. She very nearly died, and five weeks later is still fighting!! - and really not sure she's making progress. As you can imagine this has put me under severe pressure, and has affected the children enormously.I've been married for 29 Years , having met when we were 21 at University, and married at 27.We have an amazing marriage - She;s my wife,mybest friend and it terrifies the life out of me to think she may die, as a result of what may be negligence/incompetence.The hospital where the Doctor operated does not have a CT scan, so I do not know how he would determine that he had perforated the bowel during the op.(Perhaps the reason for the other two people not making it.) I am being drained financially and emotionally ,am self employed and my business has been suffering, and do not have the funds to pay an attorney to take on this case.I get to the hospital every day at 06h30 , leave for work at 08h00,and go again after work until about 7-7.30 PM after the Doctor has visited.I have a son at a private boarding school,and was considering withdrawing him, but a friend has offered to pay. Do you believe I have a case here? I need to add that I believe I have a responsibility here. If I hear sometime in the future, that someone else has died as a result of a similar issue with this Doctor, I would regret not having done something. If he's been negligent steps need to be taken to ensure it doesn't happen again, or at least not to operate in an hospital where they do not have the equipment to ascertain problems , if things go wrong. I'm told that it was reported in the press,that this surgeon has been banned from two hospitals in Durban - not due to ability , but temperament.I'm not sure however that this is the case.I apologise as this is a jumbled account of what's taken place . I really would appreciate some help in this situation.Kind Regards,Tim.
Submitted: 8 years ago.Category: South Africa Law
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Answered in 12 minutes by:
7/6/2010
Lawyer: WCLawyer, Attorney replied 8 years ago
WCLawyer
WCLawyer, Attorney
Category: South Africa Law
Satisfied Customers: 15,603
Experience: L.LB (UOVS)
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1. If it can be established that the bowel has indeed been "nicked" during the first or second or any operation that this doctor or any other doctor in the hospital performed, that in itself may be negligent.

2. There are other factors, however, on the facts that you presented, that, in my opinion, increases the degree of negligence. The fact that this happened to this doctor twice, puts the hospital in the cross hairs. It also increases the liability of the surgeon, since he should, by now, know what the symptoms for a perforated bowel is, since it happened twice with him. He should have taken the necessary steps to confirm, which it seems he didn't. He should have started the appropriate treatment, which the didn't. In my opinion, you do indeed have a claim here.

3. Litigation like this is not cheap. Legal bills for litigation against the insurers of this doctor could run into the hundreds of thousands. It is also not quick. It might take you anything up to five years before you see the inside of a court room.

You may, however, be able to find an attorney that will do this for you on a contingency basis. This basically means that he will only charge you a fee if he wins and it will be a percentage of his winnings. You will have to pay expenses, though, and this would be for advocates and other doctors to come and testify against this doctor.

I hope everything turns out well with your wife as well.

Edited by WCLawyer on 7/6/2010 at 11:31 AM EST
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