Woman suffers spinal injuries after falling off hospital operating table, sues for damages

A woman who suffered spinal injuries when she fell off an operating table at Mater Dei hospital during routine surgery has taken legal action against the hospital authorities, holding them responsible for negligence

Mater Dei Hospital
Mater Dei Hospital

A woman who suffered spinal injuries when she fell off an operating table at Mater Dei hospital during routine surgery has taken legal action against the hospital authorities, holding them responsible for negligence.

The incident occurred on 19 November when the 58-year-old woman had been admitted for an operation to remove a cyst from her finger.

She was operated on at 11:30am and was taken up to a ward for recovery at around 1:50pm.

After the surgery, the woman’s husband had asked nurses whether there had been any complications because his wife could not feel her legs, but at that stage, the doctors had not informed either of the couple that anything had been amiss, the husband said.

After submitting her to a barrage of tests, the woman’s surgeon had told the husband that the woman had fallen off the operating table and ordered an x-ray, whilst assuring him that there was nothing to worry about.

At around 7pm that evening, the husband was informed by a consultant that, in fact, his wife had been scanned in an MRI machine and that she had suffered damage to her neck and spine as a result of the fall. The woman was going to have to undergo major surgery to address this damage, he said.

But after the surgery was completed, the man was told that the “damage had been done” and the effects and consequences of her fall “would have to be determined in time.” In the meanwhile, the woman was transferred to the ITU and a magisterial inquiry was appointed to determine the facts of the incident.

The husband and wife had taken the decision to file a judicial protest the next day, holding the Director-General of Department of Health Services, the CEO and the Clinical Director of Mater Dei hospital liable in damages for negligence.

Lawyers Franco Debono, Marion Camilleri and Amadeus Cachia signed the judicial protest.

READ MORE: Health Minister requests magisterial inquiry into operating theatre incidenT

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