Health will pay €30,000 for malpractice: a patient suffered tetraparesis after a faulty operation

Health will pay €30,000 for malpractice: a patient suffered tetraparesis after a faulty operation

The second section of the Contentious-Administrative Chamber of the Superior Court of Justice of the Valencian Community (TSJCV) has sentenced the Conselleria de Sanitat to pay 30,000 euros for malpractice in a patient: she suffered tetraparesis (decreased mobility in all four limbs) after a faulty operation.

This follows from the sentence, to which Europa Press has had access, in which the court partially upholds the lawsuit filed by the patient's family (who died for reasons other than this cause) against the presumed dismissal of the claim of patrimonial responsibility. The right of the community of heirs of the victim, represented by the lawyer Carmen Romeroto be compensated with 30,000 euros plus interest from the date of the claim.

The events date back to 2008.. The patient was a woman with an important medical history: hypothyroidism due to Hasimoto's disease, hypercholesterolemia, lupus erythematosus, and Raynaud's syndrome in the upper limbs. To treat Raynaud's syndrome, the woman resorted to a cervical spinal cord neurostimulation system and it was very effective in relieving her symptoms. However, seven years later, in a regular check-up, an increase in impedance (electrical resistance) was detected in one of the electrodes.

At the Clinic of Valencia

An attempt was made to withdraw General Hospital but, unable to locate him, he was referred to the Clinical Hospital, a center that has an experimental unit in this field. Thus, he underwent surgery in this health center in October 2008 to remove the electrode and place a new one with which to relieve the pain. The patient signed the informed consent for anesthesia and surgery. After the operation, she suffered from tetraparesis.

One of the points alleged by the plaintiffs was that the tetraparesis that the patient developed was not contemplated as a possible surgical risk. However, the Administration considers that it is, by indicating in the informed consent that "as in any intervention, there may be intra- or post-operative complications".

The Chamber, after analyzing it, considers that the informed consent was incomplete, as stated by a neurosurgeon, member of the Royal Academy of Medicine of Valencia: "It would have been more appropriate to add the generic consent for operations on the spine and cervical spine, where the incidence of a major complication (tetraparesis) is clearly expressed".

In addition, the Chamber agrees with the specialist in pointing out that it cannot be admitted that the risk was covered by the formula used in the consent of "other new symptoms" since tetraparesis is a serious complication. On the other hand, he points out that the fact that a few years earlier he had had an electrode implanted and was aware of the procedure does not invalidate the above conclusion.

Without radiological study

Likewise, the Chamber, analyzing the circumstances of the case, understands that a radiological study (cervical CT RX) should have been performed on the patient prior to the intervention.

In conclusion, the court does not share what was resolved by the Administration and appreciates the insufficiency of the signed informed consent, lack of radiological tests in the preoperative period, lack of neurophysiological control in the intervention, lack of radiological control in the operating room after the placement of the new electrode and poor information collected in the surgical sheet and in the postoperative period. Thus, there is responsibility of the Health Administration in the production of the injury.

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