Understanding What, Who, How, and Why a Certified Cardiovascular Perfusionist Could be Liable for your Medical Malpractice

John Fisher
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Stopping Medical Injustice

Whenever you are going into surgery, especially for cardiac surgery, lengthy surgeries, or complicated surgeries with complex conditions or co-morbidities, it is very likely a cardiovascular perfusionists is lurking nearby.  Also known as a certified cardiovascular perfusionist, or a CCP, is a specialized healthcare professional who uses the heart-lung machines during cardiac surgeries or other surgeries which require a cardiopulmonary bypass. A perfusionist is a trained member of a cardiac team and is responsible for the management of the physiological and metabolic needs of a patient, so that a surgeon can operate on a still, unseating heart.  


As you can imagine, this is a very important job.  Mistakes here can easily kill a patient.  The Capital Region has many hospitals with CCP, including St. Peter’s and Albany Medical Center.  Unfortunately, there are medical malpractice cases with perfusionists and cardiac teams.


Whenever a patient dies during a cardiac surgery, the defendant-hospital, surgeon, and perfusionist will likely claim that the patient was already in bad shape to begin with.  Thus, the patient was likely to die anyway.  


However this is not a defense to medical malpractice.  Accepting a risky patient is not an excuse for killing a risky patient.  Indeed, patients who are killed by medical malpractice during heart surgery are treated equally with respect, dignity, and under the standard of care that a reasonable physician and surgeon should use.  Patients that are risky are known as “egg shell” plaintiffs, and a defendant takes them as they find them.  


This means that a perfusionist cannot simply blame the patient for the mistakes.  A perfusionist must carefully protect the rights and life of a patient.  Perfusionist must monitor the components keeping a patient alive, including monitoring the neurologic condition of a patient.  


When a child is injured due to a perfusionist’s failure to properly monitor and hook up his or her heart to the perfusion machine, it can result in neurologic injuries due to ischemia and hypoxia. The same is true for adults.  Injuries here generally cause brain damage, which is largely irreversible, permanent, end debilitating.


But what do you think?  I would love to hear from you!  Leave a comment or I also welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 1-866-889-6882 or you can drop me an e-mail at [email protected]  You are always welcome to request my FREE book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, at the home page of my website at www.protectingpatientrights.com.

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