Donald Adanich was a born survivor. A Vietnam veteran, he endured numerous close calls during the war. Later, he survived a diagnosis of esophageal cancer with the support of his loving wife, Lyn. Donald underwent dental implant surgery in February 2014; because of an undisclosed medical mistake, he died only 6 months later.

How could this happen?

A medical mistake during the routine procedure resulted in Donald swallowing indigestible surgical gauze while sedated. Unfortunately, none of the medical staff felt it necessary to inform him or his wife of the mistake. Donald became so ill after the procedure that Lyn brought him back to the VA hospital the day after his surgery. The hospital admitted him with a high white blood cell count and a high fever, evidence of a serious infection.

The couple learned of the mistake only after seeking a second opinion. According to NewsNet5, “The physician had obtained Don’s VA medical records, which included a document describing the discovery of surgical gauze in her husband’s stomach.” Unfortunately, the infection had progressed too far. The gauze was removed, but far too late; Donald died that August.

Hospitals intentionally hide information to protect themselves

Donald’s case is evidence of a larger problem; hospitals are hiding medical mistakes from not only the general public, but also from the affected patients. Hospitals are required to report serious disciplinary actions against medical professionals the National Practitioner Data Bank. However, that information is private by law.

Maxwell Mehlman, Director of the Law-Medicine Center at Case Western Reserve University, said, “There’s no way that the public can go online and find out that, for example, the doctor you’re thinking of asking to be your doctor has had payments

[for fines] made 150 times in the last year.”

The lack of publicly available information is only part of the problem. Hospitals don’t want to get sued, and as evidenced by Donald Adanich’s case, will go to great lengths to cover their tracks. However, medical mistakes kill people, and the healthcare professionals that make them need to be held accountable.

At Rocky McElhaney Law Firm, we fight for your rights. That includes your right to information about your health. If you have been the victim of medical malpractice, we can be your advocates. Contact our experienced medical malpractice attorneys in Nashville, Gallatin and Knoxville today for a free consultation.