Saturday Night Live alumni Dana Carvey started suffering chest pains in 1997, according to People. Three years later, the comedian underwent a double bypass surgery in California to save his life, the magazine reported. When he awoke in his hospital bed, Carvey learned that his cardiac surgery had bypassed the wrong artery, and that he’s need another heart surgery to clear blockage from the correct one. Carvey told the Associated Press at the time that he compared the news to hearing that doctors had removed the wrong kidney.
“I can’t believe they bypassed the wrong artery,” Carvey recalled thinking. “I remember just lying in my bed sobbing.”
Carvey, perhaps best known for his imitation of President George H.W. Bush as well as his roles as“Wayne’s World” sidekick Garth and “The Church Lady,” sued his Los Angeles surgeon on grounds of medical malpractice. Carvey sought $7.5 million in damages. Both sides ultimately settled for an undisclosed amount.
Carvey’s case is a high-profile example of how medical malpractice can and does happen even though most of us have or will have to put our lives in the hands of a physician at least once or twice.
According to New York University’s Civil Justice Resource Group, there are up to 120,000 patient deaths due to medical malpractice, or negligence, each year. That’s about one percent of all patients who are hospitalized.
But only about 3 percent of patients or their families file a medical malpractice lawsuit against their doctor or hospital, the Civil Justice Resource Group reports. The reason is unknown. Victims often are not only left with an injury or death of a loved one; they are saddled with a hefty bill also. The Civil Justice Resource Group says the ratio of total malpractice premiums to total economic losses suffered by victims of malpractice is a staggering one to four. Simply put, physicians and hospitals tend to avoid paying 80 percent of the economic harm their errors inflict on patients and their families, the group says.
Medical malpractice cases can be difficult — but you are not alone, and you can win with the help of an experienced medical malpractice attorney. Your case is important and doctors and hospitals must be held accountable for their negligence if a mistake occurs.
If you or a family member have been injured due to someone else’s negligence or medical malpractice, you may be able to file a lawsuit seeking compensation. At The Fighting for People Injury Law Group of PollackSteinberg LLP, our experienced Pennsylvania and New Jersey personal injury attorneys will review your claims for free and help you hold negligent drivers and companies responsible for their actions.
To schedule your free, no-risk consultation, contact our office today by calling 800-549-4LAW (4529).