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9-year-old girl dies hours after tonsillectomy

Arizona parents will likely be saddened by a story from Detroit about a medical procedure that went terribly wrong. A 9-year-old girl died after going into cardiac arrest on Dec.8, 2016, hours after having undergone a tonsillectomy at Children's Hospital of Michigan.

The girl had the tonsillectomy to prevent snoring that was caused by a breathing problem. Her mother says she avoided having her daughter undergo the surgery for years, but finally agreed. Tonsillectomy for breathing problems related to sleep disorders has become more common in recent years, though the surgery itself as a cure for tonsillitis has become less common.

The procedure was supposed to take only 40 minutes but wound up lasting over two hours. The child was discharged soon after and died several hours later. Her mother said that after discharge the girl did not feel well. The medical report stated that her death could have been caused by an undetected heart problem, an obstructed airway or complications from anesthesia. An autopsy report was not expected to be available for several weeks. The girl's mother and her attorney believe that the child was not in stable condition when she was discharged from the hospital. The family intends to file a lawsuit against Detroit Medical Center, which owns the hospital where the tonsillectomy was performed.

When doctors or other medical personnel make mistakes, it could be a case of medical malpractice. Not all fatal surgical errors are the result of negligence, however. An attorney will consult with medical experts and review other evidence in order to determine whether the death resulted from a failure by the health care practitioner or facility to exercise the requisite standard of care.

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