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Family awarded $7.6 million in wrongful death lawsuit

People want to trust their doctors. They want to believe that their doctors are knowledgeable, well-trained, caring and focused on the health of their patients.

Sometimes, however, doctors and hospitals deliver far less than acceptable care. In those cases involving medical malpractice, the patients suffer and sometimes pay the ultimate price. That's what happened in a terrible tragedy far from us here in La Crosse.

A New York man died after a hospital he went to twice forgot to perform surgery to remove his inflamed gallbladder.

His widow was recently awarded $7.6 million by the court that heard her wrongful death lawsuit.

The man died three and a half years ago at the age of 60.

"I first thank God for the justice that was served," his 59-year-old widow told a media source.

She said she plans to use the money to bring her 32-year-old daughter home from a mental health institution where she has been hospitalized since her father's death.

Her father had a fairly routine medical problem -- gallstones -- when he was admitted to the hospital in June of 2008.

It's a routine problem, but one that can require immediate care in certain situations.

After the man's admission to the hospital, the medical facility neglected to schedule him for surgery the next day. And the day after that.

Four days after his admission, the 60-year-old was dead.

The widow's attorney summed up the situation perfectly: "Nobody in the United States of America should die of a gallstone when they get to the hospital in plenty of time."

Clearly, medical malpractice can do irreparable harm that no compensation can undo or fix. Nevertheless, many families of victims feel they owe it to their loved ones to do all they can to hold the negligent parties responsible.

Source: "Family of man who died after New York Hospital Queens delayed operation receives $7.6 million," Clare Trapasso, Jan. 4, 2012

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