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Doctor's leg amputated after surgical error

Recently, a doctor who lost his leg due to a medical error spoke out about what happened to him, hoping his experience can end up making a difference and lead to a decrease in medical errors.

Dr. Frederick Southwick is certainly not the only one to end up suffering from life-changing consequences due to a medical error. In fact, according to the Institute of Medicine, medical errors lead to 100,000 preventable deaths each year.

However, deadly errors aside, Southwick believes that roughly 1 million people are injured each year from medical errors.

In his case, it was two months after his book about preventing medical errors came out that he started to experience calf pain. Little did he know it at the time, but the pain was actually being caused by a surgical error that was made during a 1995 Achilles' tendon surgery.

It turns out a large tourniquet was used at high pressures for a long period of time during the surgery. This cuff ended up leading to injury and scarring of his arteries. Over time, the blood flow was blocked to his lower leg. He ended up having to have his own leg amputated due to the error.

In looking at what happened, Southwick appears to be taking a rather positive approach to the situation. He is hopeful his story will encourage caregivers to create better systems to avoid preventable errors in the future. He is also back to work with his prosthetic leg and has gotten into rowing.

However, while he is staying positive, for those who are injured due to a medical error, keep in mind it is possible to stay positive and move on in life while still holding hospital caregivers accountable for what happened. This is where an attorney with experience handling medical malpractice cases in New York City should be met with to talk about possible legal options and outcomes.

Source: Health News Florida, "Medical Error Expert Talks About Losing Leg," July 10, 2013

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