Teenager pronounced brain dead after surgery

By Rheingold Giuffra Ruffo & Plotkin LLP

A teenager was ruled brain dead by physicians at the hospital where she had undergone surgery for her tonsils. The family of the teenager wanted to keep her on life support because they believed that she could still wake up. It is a story that could happen anywhere, including New York. The parents of the child were told by the hospital that it would be removing her from life support, but the family was fighting that decision because they believed that it was their decision to make.

Surgical errors have not been cited as the reason for the complications that caused the girl to become brain dead. The hospital says that they are looking into what occurred in the operating room on the day of her surgery. Local leaders have voiced their opinion that the hospital did not take proper care of the teenage girl.

The hospital petitioned the court to lift a court order that previously would not allow them to remove the girl from life support. The judge did not grant their request and told the hospital and family that he hoped that they would be able to work together. The family was granted more time before the hospital would be allowed to remove the machines. The family had not decided if they will file an appeal in the case.

The family has several options if the hospital is found at fault for the medical issues that the girl has suffered from. The family could file a civil lawsuit for medical malpractice. The medical costs of keeping a person on life support can extend to thousands of dollars over time. An attorney might be able to help the family in requesting financial compensation for those bills and possibly for wrongful death.

Source: CNN, “California teen is brain dead after tonsil surgery“, Dan Simon and Catherine E. Shoichet, December 26, 2013

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