Medical Center Loses Malpractice Suit

A jury finds for the plaintiff in a medical malpractice suit in Alabama. In July 2007, breast cancer survivor, Kathryn Coiro visited Trinity Medical Center to have a complex cyst biopsied from her left breast. In accordance with the Joint Commission Universal Protocol on marking for surgical sites, a doctor should have marked the site of the cyst and then confirmed the marking with Coiro. Despite having the protocol in place, before Coiro’s biopsy a nurse marked her left breast. When she informed the nurse that the location of the marking was not the location of cyst the nurse remarked that the mark was an indicator of which breast was to be biopsied, not necessarily the exact location.

According to the suit filed against Trinity Medical Center, the doctors performed the biopsy on the location where the nurse marked. In the recovery room, Coiro noted that the cyst that was to be removed for biopsy was still in her breast. The doctors performed a second surgery, this time removing the cyst.

Coiro developed an infection at the original, incorrect surgical site. She was first treated with antibiotics during the outpatient visit of her original visit. She was later admitted to the emergency room with advancing infection, abscess, cellitius, and necrosis of the skin. Coiro had multiple surgeries and a hospital stay to heal the wound.

The jury awarded Coiro $106,026 in the case for her experience due to the wrong surgical marking.

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