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NC Family Receives $7M Wrongful Death Award for Mother's Death Following Botched Hysterectomy

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A jury in Wilkes County, North (NC), on May 27, 2011, awarded $7 million to the family of Victoria Lynn Brown Harmon. The woman, who was a special education teacher, died from surgical complications and infections following a botched hysterectomy in the spring of 2007, prompting her survivors to bring a medical malpractice and wrongful death lawsuit against the surgeon who perforated her bowel during what should have been a safe and routine procedure.

Here is how North Carolina TV station WSOC drily described Brown Harmon's four-month ordeal following the surgical error, ""She developed sepsis, suffered multiple organ failure, including brain and kidney problems, had pneumonia and was on dialysis before her family and doctors decided that further treatment would be futile."

All of the woman's ultimately fatal health problems stemmed from the sepsis, a blood and organ infection that kills as many a 30 percent of people who develop it. Untreated or improperly diagnosed and addressed wounds from surgery are one of the leading causes of sepsis, and most victims of sepsis develop the disease in, or shortly after leaving, a hospital.

Hospital-acquired infections take the lives of thousands of U.S. patients each year. Despite efforts to reduce or eliminate those surgical and therapeutic complications, the problem persists and causes untold suffering to patients, along with anguish among the affected people's friends and family members. Even when medical treatment-related infections are survived, the illnesses can leave victims permanently disabled or weakened.

As a North Carolina  and Virginia (VA) medical malpractice attorney, I have represented clients who underwent botched hysterectomies and other patients who developed sepsis or other infections following instances of medical negligence and surgeon's mistakes. Each client in those personal injury lawsuits suffered preventable errors, often paying a high price for the unprofessional practices of their doctors.

While no amount of money can return the love and support Brown Harmon's children, grandchildren, students and other friends and family received from her, I am pleased that jurors recognized the extent of those survivors' loss and held the surgeon responsible for the error that led to her death.

EJL

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