Death during Surgery or Medical Neglect

A “surgical death” is any death that occurs in the operating room extending to any death that occurs within 30 days of surgery. A forensic pathologist is brought in when an unusual death potentially relating to surgery has occurred in which medical malpractice may be an issue. Malpractice civil cases rely heavily on whether or not damage directly resulted due to a deviation from standard procedures.

Thus it is the forensic pathologist’s job to determine whether death was a direct result, contributory cause, or unrelated to negligent or intentional malpractice.

Medical neglect is a broad term which encompasses mistakes in medication, therapeutic misadventures, inappropriate therapy, or other professional errors. Forensic pathologists particularly play a part in investigating medication error and medical omissions. The types of malpractice cases that are brought by medication error can include: incomplete patient information, unavailable drug information, miscommunication of drug orders, lack of appropriate labeling, and environmental factors that can distract health professionals from their medical tasks. It is the duty of the pathologist to determine if death or injury was a result of medication errors or medical mistakes or neglect.

The Forensic Panel provides experts who are experiences in making and prepared to make tough differentiations between fair and malpractice to ensure fairness and justice to both the medical professionals and the patients involved. The Forensic Panel’s peer-review process, with consultation by additional experts, ensures the integrity of this very crucial examination.