This article focuses on lawsuits against surgeons, surgical staff, and surgical venues. The primary allegation in these suits is that surgeons disengaged from their patients when they still had a duty to continue care. Abandonment is not a perfect term for this behavior, but patients often use it to describe the cause of their injuries in their malpractice lawsuits. Most of the NORCAL Group claims analyzed for this article in which a patient alleged abandonment by his or her surgeon involve an inappropriate delegation of duty from the surgeon to another member of the surgical team, or a failure to address a surgical complication when delegation was absent or ineffective. Discontinuity of care is a common theme in these claims. Renewed focus on a surgeon’s duty of continuity of care may be the key to timely diagnosis and treatment of surgical complications and liability risk.
CASE ONE Concurrent Surgery, Abandonment, and Fraud
CASE TWO Disclosing Unanticipated Outcomes of Overlapping Surgeries
CASE THREE Abandonment as a Result of Failure to Disclose an Adverse Outcome
CASE FOUR Failure to Examine a Patient During the Post-Operative Period
CASE FIVE Failure to Respond to a Patient’s After-Hours Call
CASE SIX Failure to Arrange Adequate Vacation Coverage