Is it malpractice/negligence if a surgeon performs a biopsy with a dog bite on his hand and the surgery results in MRSA and then sepsis?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Is it malpractice/negligence if a surgeon performs a biopsy with a dog bite on his hand and the surgery results in MRSA and then sepsis?

By his own admission, the wound on his hand was a dog bite. My brother has lymphoma and treatment had to be delayed due to MRSA. They wanted him to do the treatment for that at home. Something happened to where he became delirious, very low blood pressure, severe pain in the abdomen obviously because of lymphoma in that area. His oncologist called one day and said to

immediately halt MRSA treatment and get to the hospital ASAP. While he was in ICU, the infection

advanced to sepsis causing kidney failure and possibly other organs to fail. This is as much as I

can provide; this is the extent of my knowledge on the subject.

Asked on February 2, 2018 under Malpractice Law, Indiana


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

It's malpractice IF there is some medical evidence or expert opinion that 1) it was negligent or careless for the surgeon to do the biopsy with the dog bite on his hand (that is, a reasonable doctor would not do this); and 2) the dog bite on the surgeon's hand caused the MRSA and sepsis. That is, you need evidence and a reason to believe that this was both careless and the cause of your brother's problems--you cannot simply assume that was the case. So the first question is, what have you heard from other doctors about the surgeon's decision to do the biopsy and the cause of the MRSA and sepsis?

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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