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Rhode Island Woman Awarded $1.3 Million After Botched Surgery

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A Rhode Island woman was recently awarded $1.3 million after she had gallstone surgery, resulting in months of prolonged complications due to medical negligence at Kent Hospital. Although in most cases, Rhode Island healthcare professionals meet acceptable standards of care, malpractice can and does happen. Fortunately, legal help is on hand to help injured patients receive compensation and pursue the road to recovery after being affected by malpractice.

Negligent care at Kent Hospital

A jury found both Dr. Brian Reed and Kent Hospital negligent in the care of Ashley Vickers, aged 33. Vickers first went to Kent Hospital for gallstone surgery in 2014, but had a follow-up appointment the next day due to pain and bleeding. For a period of two months, Vickers then checked in and out of Kent Hospital and Rhode Island Hospital multiple times. Her bile duct had been mistakenly cut during the initial surgery and was leaking into her abdomen. Ultimately, Vickers had to have reconstructive surgery to repair the damage to her organs, which involved cutting and rerouting her small intestine.  

Raina Smith, a spokesperson for Care New England (which owns and operates Kent Hospital) declined to comment on the case. However, Reed is no longer licensed to practice in Rhode Island, according to the Department of Health. “Today, [Vickers] abdomen is now a completely altered system of scar tissue and changed anatomy, and she carries risk into the future,” said Vickers’ lawyer, Michael P. Quinn Jr.

Proving medical malpractice 

When it comes to malpractice, the burden of proof falls on the injured patient to prove negligence on the part of a healthcare professional, JJS Justice explains. For a case to legally be considered malpractice, direct harm caused by a healthcare professional that otherwise wouldn’t have been caused by a competent doctor must be proven. Simply being dissatisfied with the results of surgery or treatment isn’t enough to have a medical malpractice claim. In Rhode Island, patients have a three-year statute of limitations to file a medical malpractice lawsuit (the same timeframe as other personal injury claims). If harm or injury wasn’t immediately apparent, the patient has three years from when it should have been reasonably discovered to file a suit.  

Ultimately, medical malpractice can be potentially emotionally, physically, and financially devastating to patients and families. Fortunately, medical malpractice law plays a key role in holding those responsible to account while winning justice for injured patients.

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