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Surgical error at University of Iowa hospital paralyzed patient

Most patients know that undergoing surgery is rarely totally free of risk. Every type of operation has a chance, even if remote, of leading to serious side effects.

This is why, before you go under the knife, hospitals generally require you to sign documents acknowledging that you are consenting to the procedure. But under the law, if your surgeon has not adequately explained the risks associated with the operation you will be undergoing, you cannot truly consent. After all, how can you consent to something you don’t really understand?

An Iowa woman who was left paralyzed after brain surgery in 2014 has filed a medical malpractice claim against the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. She says she was not adequately informed of the risks of the operation, and that the surgeon made an error that caused her severe disabilities.

According to the Cedar Rapids Gazette, the woman went to UI for hearing loss. She had a preexisting benign tumor on the tissue covering her brain, but doctors discovered a second tumor that seemed to be causing the hearing problems.

They recommended removing the first tumor. But according to the complaint filed with the Iowa State Appeal Board, doctors failed to sufficiently inform the patient of the risks of surgery before obtaining her consent.

During the operation, the surgeon cut the woman’s middle cerebral artery, triggering a massive stroke. She was left paralyzed on her right side, unable to speak, swallow or control her bodily functions. Her attorney says the woman, 54, will probably require 24-hour care for the rest of her life.

Doctors often hold their patients’ lives in their hands, and negligent doctors can easily cause serious harm. Victims can fight back with the help of a personal injury attorney.

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