A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed by the parents of a 16 year old girl who died following brain surgery. The medical malpractice claim also alleges that the neurosurgeon then tried to cover up his error by interfering with the autopsy.
Jessica Siegel underwent an operation performed by Dr. Andrew Joel Ringer in August 2006. The surgical procedure was intended to prevent some of the veins in Siegel’s brain from knotting, which can increase the chances of a stroke. 9 days after the surgery was performed, Siegel died.
The case gets interesting from here, since Siegel’s parents originally only filed a lawsuit because they felt their daughter’s eyes were improperly harvested. In reviewing the details of the days following Siegel’s untimely death, it was then discovered that Dr. Ringer had specifically ordered an autopsy which excluded the examination of the head, despite the fact that her parents had requested a full one. The doctor then reportedly feigned surprise when told that there had been no autopsy of the head. A nurse, however, testified during a deposition that once the girl’s parents left the room, Dr. Ringer instructed her to scratch out the order for a full autopsy and indicate that it should omit the head.
Because of this omission, the medical examiner could not determine a cause of death and the Siegels now feel that this is because Dr. Ringer was attempting to cover up his botched surgery on their daughter’s brain. Had the autopsy included a head examination, the real cause of Jessica’s death would have likely been uncovered and Dr. Ringer would have found himself facing a medical malpractice lawsuit.
His cover-up didn’t work. Once the Siegels discovered what Dr. Ringer had done, they promptly filed a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of their daughter, who they now believed died as a result of his negligence.
Updates to this case will be reported when they become available.