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Are surgeons giving living donors enough information?

Posted On behalf of Michael D'Amico of D'Amico & Pettinicchi, LLC on Feb 13, 2014 in Surgical Errors

It takes a brave person to be willing to go under the knife for a relative, friend or total stranger. To give someone a kidney or part of a liver as a live donor is incredibly compassionate, but it is a gift that comes with risk. Any surgery, whether absolutely medically necessary or entirely elective, comes with the risk of surgical errors, medical malpractice and death. So, in order to make sure that a living donor really knows what he or she is getting him- or herself into, surgeons need to give a living donor sufficient information to consent to surgery.

One out-of-state woman is saying that her husband was not properly informed of the risks of donating part of his liver to his brother-in-law and has filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the hospital at which the surgery was performed. Sadly, he died while in surgery. She says that if her husband had been given more information, he may not have gone through with the surgery in the first place.

Whenever someone in Connecticut is injured or dies because a surgeon made a mistake or was negligent, the patient or his or her family may be able to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. If there is evidence that the surgeon did something that was not within the scope of normal medical care, he or she could be held liable for any and all injuries that result.

Though this living donor's death was certainly tragic, it has fortunately sparked an ongoing discussion of how best to advocate on behalf of living donors. Without enough unbiased information, no donor can truly give informed consent.

Source: The Boston Globe, "Donor's death shatters family, stuns surgeons," Liz Kowalczyk, Feb. 2, 2014