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Florida liability suit: Surgeon glossed over serious symptoms

Pensacola doctors are responsible for providing quality care at each stage of a patient's condition, from wellness visits to post-surgical recovery. Physicians, like everyone else, make mistakes. However, unlike almost everyone else, doctors' errors can cause tremendous pain and suffering, and even death.

A Central Florida health care system and an on-staff neurosurgeon are defendants in a lawsuit, alleging that a patient's wrongful death was caused by medical neglect. The woman underwent back surgery in April 2011 and died less than one month later of a blood clot in her lungs.

Less than a week before her death, the woman visited the surgeon's office to report breathing problems and leg numbness and pain. The doctor did not meet with the patient, but later prescribed muscle relaxants. The patient then unsuccessfully sought treatment from a second facility operated by the same health care provider.

Three days after informing the back surgeon of her symptoms, the patient went into cardiac arrest. She died when drugs designed to break up the blood clot in her lungs failed to work. The lawsuit claims that the clot originated in her lower extremities, where the patient's post-surgical pain was concentrated.

The complaint alleges that the doctors and staffs at the medical facilities, which are owned by the same company, failed to provide advice and treatment that could have saved the woman's life.

The neurosurgeon named in the lawsuit still practices at the Lakeland hospitals where the patient sought treatment and died.

We admire the stamina and dedication of doctors who endure long days with hectic schedules. Physicians whose time constraints cause them to ignore serious patient symptoms, however, are not living up to the oaths they pledged to uphold or following civil laws that are intended to protect patients from negligence.

Medical malpractice victims have a right to file lawsuits to recover compensation for damages. Early legal advice is recommended, since comprehensive evidence is often required, and there are time limits set by law for filing claims.

Source:, "Neurosurgeon, Lakeland Regional Sued" Robin Williams Adams, Oct. 28, 2013

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