Medical Malpractice Verdict for $4.3 Million in ‘Switched’ Surgeon Case

A Massachusetts jury awarded a 39-year-old mother $4.3 million after a non-board-certified doctor performed a heart procedure instead of the noted specialist she had retained, the Salem News reports.
Denyse Richter had a heart arrhythmia that required medication. In 2002, Richter saw Dr. Laurence Epstein, chief of arrhythmia service at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston. Richter wanted to stop taking medication in order to have another child. For that to happen, she needed a procedure known as ablation which uses high-frequency radio waves to burn away abnormal cells that cause irregular heart beats. Epstein, a specialist noted for performing ablation, was the doctor she chose to perform the surgery.
After Richter was sedated and prepared for surgery, a different doctor, Kyoko Soejima, was sent in to perform the surgery. Although Soejima had recently completed a fellowship, he was not board certified to perform the surgery.
Richter alleged that she did not consent to switching surgeons. She also claimed that the surgeon continued with the procedure even though there were clear signs that her heart conduction would be blocked. Richter also alleged that the doctor who performed the surgery noticed the presence of another condition that meant she would still need to take medication.
Richter suffered permanent heart damage and had to have a pacemaker implanted.
She sued both doctors for medical malpractice and a Suffolk County Superior Court jury returned a $4.3 million verdict. With interest, the total award is approximately $6 million.
This case is about patients’ rights. A noted specialist and a doctor who hasn’t even been board certified are not equals when it comes to expertise and experience. Patients don’t lightly undergo surgery and when they do, it is fair to expect the surgeon that they hired will be the surgeon who performs the operation.
The lawyers of Carey, Danis & Lowe are experienced in helping families injured by medical negligence. We will seek compensation for past and future medical expenses, past and future wages, pain and suffering, disability and other damages. We also represent family members in wrongful death cases.
We offer a free initial consultation. If you cannot make it to our office, we will come to you at the hospital or at your home.
Contact the lawyers at Carey, Danis & Lowe today by calling 877-678-3400.