University of Maryland Malpractice Lawsuit Filed Over Surgical Mistake

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By: AboutLawsuits | Published: August 13th, 2009

A medical malpractice lawsuit has been filed against University of Maryland Medical Center by the family of a man who died when a staffer at the hospital accidentally removed a clamp after lung transplant surgery, draining all of his blood.

The complaint was filed by the family of Bryan Harris, who was 51 years-old when he went had a lung transplant in June 2008. The Maryland wrongful death lawsuit alleges that a subcontacted staffer working for University of Maryland mistakenly allowed all of Harris’s blood to drain out of his body, causing him to die.

According to a report by the Baltimore Sun, the family also accuses the hospital of trying to cover up the incident, first by reporting that Harris died of natural causes, and then by telling the medical examiner he died of multiple system organ failure. The medical examiner later changed the cause of death to acute blood loss. The fact that the clamp had been removed was noted in the original surgeon’s report, but it is unclear which staffer was responsible.

The staffers who may have released the clamp include three perfusionists working for the Coalition of Perfusion Services, Inc., a subcontractor. Two were working during the surgery and one came in after the surgery was completed to relieve them. However, none of the three employees were named as a defendant in the complaint.

The University of Maryland Medical Center is a large teaching hospital with more than 700 beds and 1,065 attending physicians. It has one of the largest organ transplant programs in the nation.

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