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California surgeon accused of leaving in the middle of surgery

When it comes to a major operation, you have the right to expect the closest possible attention from your surgical team. Delicate surgery requires total concentration and years of training. After all, your life may be literally in your surgeon’s hands.

Earlier this year, a California surgeon was on trial for medical malpractice after allegedly abandoning the operating room in the middle of a heart operation and forcing his surgical assistant to finish the job. The patient ended up nearly dying on the operating table. As it is, he is permanently comatose.

The surgical assistant’s testimony

As the Fresno Bee reported, the surgical assistant testified that she participated in more than 800 heart surgeries at the clinic where the doctor worked. Normally, the surgeons would close the sternum, a difficult procedure. However, the defendant taught her how to do it and had her perform the task under his supervision.

Later on, the surgeon would leave the operating room while the sternum was still open, and eventually would not bother to return to close the chest at all.

Leaving for a business meeting

Which leads us to the trial. The patient was at the clinic for a aortic heart valve replacement and aortic aneurysm repair. The surgical assistant testified that during the operation, the defendant mentioned that he wanted to attend a business meeting and seemed to be “rushing to complete the operation.”

He stayed in the O.R. long enough to get the heart stabilized, but then left. The surgical assistant wired the sternum shut and helped close the chest. Things seemed fine at first, but later internal bleeding set in. The defendant reportedly phoned in orders to the assistant to reopen the patient’s chest, massage his heart and hook him up to the heart-and-lung machine.

When your surgeon doesn’t pay attention

Needless to say, you deserve a surgeon who cares about your health more than a business meeting. Medical professionals owe all of their patients a duty of care. Failure to live up to that legal obligation can put you at serious risk of permanent disability or death.

If you believe you or a loved one has been the victim of a negligent surgeon, you may be entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering, medical bills and other expenses. Contact the Oakland law firm of Gwilliam Ivary Chiosso Cavalli & Brewer at 510-832-5411 for a free consultation.

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