THE news has broken in Murcia today that the regional health authority must pay compensation to the family of a man who died after cancer surgery.
A court has upheld a family appeal and awarded €62,456 plus interest for the death of the patient having decided that his post-operative care after colon cancer surgery was not up to standard.
The deceased, P.L.B., aged 68, was operated on in November 30, 2016, at the Virgen de la Arrixaca hospital in Murcia on Spain’s Costa Calida.
By December 5 he was suffering from intense abdominal pain accompanied by vomiting. He was taken back to hospital by ambulance and given a CT scan the next day.
This ruled out a perforation secondary to surgery.
On December 8 he had to go to the emergency room again, as the pain and vomiting persisted and, on this occasion, he was admitted on suspicion of paralytic ileus (paralysis of the intestinal muscles).
Further scans failed to spot that he did indeed have an intestinal perforation follwing his original surgery.
As his condition worsened he underwent exploratory surgery which discovered the perforation, but he slipped into a coma after the operation and died on December 16, with the perforation being given as the cause of death.
The Patient Defender’s lawyer, to whom the patient’s daughter and widow went, made an administrative complaint and subsequent lawsuit against the public health system of Murcia in which it was held that the patient’s death was due to medical malpractice.
It was decided that the risk of intestinal perforation due to the original surgery had not been properly assessed and that medical staff opted for a ‘conservative attitude’ until December 14, when he was operated on “too late to avoid death.”