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Surgeon accused of leaving patient during open heart surgery

Colorado patients may have heard that a California man accused a cardiologist of leaving his stepfather in the middle of open heart surgery, and he has since filed a lawsuit. According to the report, complications allegedly arose after the physician had left, which ultimately left the stepfather in a vegetative state.

According to media sources, on April 2, 2012, the 72-year-old stepfather underwent open heart surgery in order to fix a calcified heart valve and an aortic aneurysm. However, the surgeon reportedly left the facility before the man's chest had been closed, leaving an allegedly unqualified assistant to do the job. Complications arose, which then lead the stepfather to go into cardiac arrest.

While the staff members attempted to get the man's heart restarted, the physician made his way back to the hospital. Approximately 45 minutes after the patient's heart stopped, the surgeon was able to get the man connected to a full heart bypass machine. Despite his body healing after the surgery, the stepfather never regained full consciousness.

The medical group's chief operating officer stated that the accusation that the surgeon left during the surgery was false, according to the report. A spokeswoman for the hospital stated that, in light of the accusations, safeguards have been added since the incident.

While there are always certain risks that can occur during surgery, a surgical error could have a life-altering impact on the patient and the patient's family. If there is evidence that the surgeon did not follow proper procedure during a surgery, the family members or the patient may be able to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Source: ABC News, "Man Left Brain Damaged After Doctor Allegedly Abandons Man's Open-Heart Surgery", Sydney Lupkin, January 15, 2014

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