Surgical errors may have killed Neil Armstrong

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Neil Armstrong will be forever famous as the first person on the moon. Texans may remember that Armstrong passed away in 2012 at age 82. According to one source, two years following Armstrong’s death, his family settled a medical malpractice claim with the community hospital where Armstrong received cardiac bypass surgery.

Armstrong was up and walking following the procedure. But, when a pacing wire placed on his heart during the operation was removed, it resulted in a cardiac tear. This caused Armstrong to suffer bleeding and low blood pressure. He was first treated in a catheterization lab, and when that was not successful underwent an operation. The condition caused Armstrong to suffer significant organ damage though, and he passed away a few days later.

In general, these pacing wires are pulled bedside two or three days following the operation. Using too much force when removing the wire could cause the surface of the heart to tear, causing life-threatening bleeding into the pericardial space surrounding the heart. This is what is alleged to have happened in Armstrong’s case.

Many people who survive bypass surgery have positive outcomes, but there are instances in which mistakes will be made. When a mistake is made that a reasonably prudent physician in similar circumstances would not have made, the victim or his or her family in the case of a fatality may be able to pursue a medical malpractice claim. Because the information on this blog does not constitute legal advice, those who want more information about medical malpractice will want to seek the guidance necessary to better understand the issue and their legal rights.