The Law Offices of John Phebus

Mother sues hospital over daughter's tonsillitis death

Arizona residents may be familiar with a surgical procedure called tonsillectomy, a common operation that's often performed on children to treat tonsillitis or breathing problems that are associated with sleep disorders. Every year, doctors in the United States perform about 530,000 tonsillectomies. On Dec. 8, a 9-year-old girl in Detroit died after undergoing what was supposed to be a routine tonsillectomy.

The young girl underwent a tonsillectomy at the Children's Hospital of Detroit. Doctors there had advised the girl's mother that tonsil removal was the best way to stop the girl's snoring problem. Though the procedure was to take approximately 40 minutes, it took doctors two hours to perform the tonsillectomy. The girl was discharged from the hospital shortly after surgery, and she died hours later.

The girl's mother said that her daughter was not feeling good after her discharge. However, she was unable to pick up an oxycodone prescription that a doctor had written for the daughter. The mother has filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the hospital, claiming that the doctor who performed the surgery discharged the girl from the hospital when she was in unstable condition. Though autopsy results were not immediately available, information in the girl's medical records shows that she may have had complications from anesthesia during the surgery, an undetected heart condition and an obstructed airway.

Hospital staff should not discharge a patient who is not in stable condition. If a wrongful discharge leads to patient injuries or death, the patient's family members may file a lawsuit against the hospital and staff members responsible for the patient's care.

Source: Tech Times, "9-Year-Old Girl Dies After Getting Her Tonsils Removed In Routine Surgery," Allan Adamson, Jan. 6, 2017

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