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Surgical error changes woman's life forever

If you drive south from Covington for 7 hours, you come to Clayton County, Georgia. It is perhaps most famous in fiction as the setting of Tara, the home of Scarlett O'Hara in "Gone With the Wind." The suburban Atlanta county is also where a customer service representative recently waited for three days as a jury contemplated her medical malpractice claims against two surgeons and their practice.

The service rep's wait ended when the jury decided to award her $4 million in compensation for irreversible damages from a surgery the woman and her medical malpractice attorney said was unneeded -- worse, the unnecessary operation left her unable to eat solid foods.

Fortunately, her attorneys worked out a compensation plan with the defense that means there will be no appeal of the jury's verdict.

Defense lawyers did not concede that their clients erred in their "surgical decision making," but did say that they "accept the judicial process" even while disagreeing with the jury's decision.

The patient went to the ER back in 2012 with abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting. A CT scan revealed a bowel obstruction that doctors decided should be removed with surgery. On that particular operation, all sides agree it was needed. It's the second surgical procedure that the sides part ways.

That surgery was performed to fix a problem that didn't allow the woman's stomach to empty. However, she and her attorneys argued that she had no "gastric outlet obstruction," so the irreversible operation wasn't needed.

The surgery resulted in paralysis of the woman's stomach and intestines, making her unable to eat solid foods "without becoming extremely nauseated," according to a news report. She survives now on pureed foods and smoothies.

Anyone suffering from the complications of a preventable surgical error can learn of their legal options by discussing circumstances with an experienced Covington, Kentucky, medical malpractice attorney.

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