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Ectopic Pregnancy Operation Goes Horribly Wrong, Ending With Foot And Below-The-Knee Amputations

November 24, 2014

Stacey Galette, 32, went to the hospital for surgery for an ectopic pregnancy.  She lost a portion of her hearing, had three heart attacks, ended up with a colostomy and had both her legs amputated below the knee. What went wrong?

In an ectopic pregnancy, a fetus begins to develop somewhere in the mother’s body other than the uterus, typically along the fallopian tubes leading from ovary to uterus. A human fetus cannot survive an ectopic pregnancy, and if not removed surgically, the improperly implanted tissue can threaten the mother’s life.

Despite Galette’s post-surgery complaints of fever, an erratic heart rate and severe pain, she was sent home. Three days later, she was admitted to intensive care and remained there for 73 days.

Galette filed a medical negligence lawsuit alleging that her surgeon perforated her intestine, which led to the development of gangrene, infection and blood poisoning, which in turn cost her her limbs and some of her hearing. Her lawsuit further claimed that the hospital’s doctors and staff deviated from the accepted standard of medical care. 

At trial, the named defendants suggested the intestine puncture was the result of a pre-existing bowel condition and that, even if they had perforated it, it was a known risk and therefore not malpractice. They stated the plaintiff was lucky to be alive, thanks to their ability to perform the other surgeries.

But the jury found for the plaintiff and awarded her $62 million: $4 million for medical bills, $20 million for past pain and suffering and $38 million for future pain and care.

Waiting for this case to get to court could have caused Galette some serious financial difficulties. She may have benefited from applying for an emergency lawsuit loan from a litigation funding company. Lawsuit loans are sent to an approved applicant quickly, allowing him or her to take care of all financial obligations, including usual monthly bills.

Pre-settlement funding is not for everyone, but in many cases, it can offer the financial help a plaintiff needs to wait for the resolution of his or her case.

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