Mother was in ICU due to surgeon’s error from previous surgery
9 days after her first surgery to remove her kidney due to a tumor my mother had extreme chest/abdominal pain and difficulty in breathing. She was rushed to A&E. A&E hospital was the same hospital where she did her initial surgery. She was subsequently given painkillers but the pain still remained.
Doctors had her do a CT scan and they found blood supply in the her artery leading towards her stomach intestine was cut off. They immediately wanted to do surgery on her to ensure that her intestines were not dead due to lack of blood supply and restore the artery.
Thankfully the surgery was successful and her organs were still healthy. They did a bypass to ensure blood supply was restored to the small intestine. She was placed in ICU immediately after surgery.
Surgeon who did the first surgery informed me that the artery leading to my mother’s small intestine was accidentally cut off during her first surgery which caused her pain.
I’ve asked the surgeon if the hospital will cover my mother’s current treatment. Surgeon told me that he will speak to patient care regarding my mothers’s case.
Currently she’s out of ICU. But yet to hear from the hospital after a week regarding the treatment costs.
Anyone who has faced a similar situation or any medical professionals who could kindly advise what I should do if they don’t update me. Thank you!
- I suggest you get legal advice asap and keep all correspondence and other evidence. Quickly record down what you recall of your conversation with the first surgeon, and whether there were any other people around during that conversation. Ask the lawyer what evidence you need and quickly gather them and make duplicate copies for safekeeping
Also I suggest when discussing with your lawyer, you take a position to hold off any aggressive actions like sending lawyer letter to the hospital to give the hospital a chance to settle
If the surgeon is ethical they will do what they can to get the hospital to support. Eg waive the icu fees and other fees related to second surgery. If that is all you are asking for it should be quite achievable without going to legal
But once it goes legal, their legal will come in and you will have to fight it out all the way. You probably have to pay first and claim later. Your lawyer should advise the chance of succeeding
But if you want to get compensation on top of the costs, then… ask your lawyer
- Firstly, sorry to hear about your mother’s emergency but glad she’s on the mend and hope she makes a full recovery
I’m not the type of person to jump to recommending a lawyer but in this case I would consider seeking out a medical malpractice lawyer, least of all to help you get the answers you need/want about her treatment. Not a medical professional but based on what you recounted, it sounds like it could have been a fuckup. But then again TBH I’m not sure you can expect the medical professionals to really give you an honest answer in that situation to avoid self-incriminating, and also they may later tell you that this is a risk of the surgery that you had consented to
Do ask for the records so that you can better understand the facts, and then get on a call with a lawyer or two (for second opinion) and see what they say about the facts of the case. I don’t think the hospital will agree to compensate you for the cost of the second treatment unless they have assessed that they were liable for the mistake, or they are trying to settle with you to avoid a lawsuit. Anyway, speak to a lawyer about a potential settlement, normally they will be able to give you a free consultation. One name would be Rebecca Chew from Rajah & Tann
Otherwise write to SMC or the Hospital to open an official complaint case
- Surgeon has no jurisdiction on financial matters. Ask to speak to Service Quality + Finance.
This was a tumor (benign vs malignant) which had to be removed. I’m very sure your surgeon did not want this complication to happen. There was prompt recognition and full disclosure. I think it will be counterproductive to talk about lawyering up. Focus on your mother’s recovery. That’s all that matters. The hospital will likely waive some charges from the readmission out of goodwill. But don’t be the nasty family because you do not want to be on opposing sides to the medical team.