Many Louisville residents have undergone tonsillectomies. A tonsillectomy is the surgical removal of tonsils, and this used to be a common procedure to treat tonsillitis, the inflammation of the tonsils, and infection. Today, tonsillectomies are not performed so often, but they are sometimes used as a treatment for breathing problems and other issues related to enlarged tonsils.
Although it is less common than it once was, the tonsillectomy is still a routine procedure. Last week, however, a tonsillectomy went terribly wrong.
According to a news report, a 13-year-old girl was left brain dead due to the complications of a tonsillectomy.
It is not clear exactly what transpired, but it has been reported that the girl went to a children's hospital on Dec. 9 to have her tonsils removed. Following the surgery, she suffered a heart attack. She was revived, but she is now brain dead.
As of Wednesday, she remained on life support.
The child's mother has accused hospital staff of failing to call a doctor promptly when the girl began to suffer complications following the surgery. She also believes that the hospital is trying to cover up its mistakes.
Publicly, the hospital has said only that it is reviewing the case.
Meanwhile, the family of the girl is praying for a miracle.
While we do not know exactly what happened in this case, delayed medical care can and does result in serious consequences. When hospitals fail to address the needs of patients in a timely manner, the results can be tragic. Hospitals should be held accountable for such mistakes. In Kentucky, hospitals can be held responsible for negligence under medical malpractice law. Victims of medical malpractice and their families have the right to seek justice.
Source: WAVE 3, "Teen brain dead after tonsillectomy; mother blames hospital," Dec. 18, 2013
Source: Mayo Clinic, "Tonsillectomy," July 13, 2013