Electrosurgery Burns Leads to Malpractice Claim

A woman who underwent a hysterectomy at Hurley Medical Center in Flint Michigan awoke with a severe burn on her right forearm. The day after the surgery, a nurse told her that she had suffered a “Bovie burn”. In her deposition testimony, Kimberly Rode stated that the nurse informed her that the burn was caused by the surgical staff’s failure to place a grounding pad on her leg to protect her from electrosurgical burns. According to a report in www.outpatientsurgery.net, “Ms. Rode’s attorney sent a notice of intent to sue the hospital, surgeon and other personnel, alleging that the patient’s surgical burn was caused by “ordinary negligence” on the part of hospital staff. Specifically, the notice stated that all the electrical equipment and instruments used during the procedure that could have caused burns or other wounds should have been properly attached and monitored “so as not to cause injuries on parts of the patient’s body not associated with the surgical procedures of a hysterectomy,” court documents show. The defendants criticized the notice for not specifying which standards of care were applicable to the surgeon and which were applicable to the hospital.”
The defendants moved to dismiss the claim stating that it was a medical malpractice matter and not ordinary negligence as Ms. Rode claimed. The suit was dismissed by the lower court. However, an appeals court partially reversed the lower court’s ruling and will allow Kimberly Rode to “amend her notice of intent” and “file a new complaint with a conforming affidavit of merit within the time remaining in the period of limitation.”