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Medical Malpractice Prompts Wrongful Death Suit

The family of a teenage girl with hydrocephalus who died when doctors failed to monitor her vital signs as they performed surgery to upgrade a device she needed to regulate the fluid pressure in her skull has filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the hospital citing negligence.

The Botched Surgery

The 17-year-old girl, Emily Shank, suffered from hydrocephalus – a condition in which fluid accumulates in the patient’s skull, applying pressure to the brain.

She had lived with this disease her whole life, regulating the fluid with a device called a shunt. It was not until she went to Wilson Regional Medical Center to have the shunt upgraded that she died.

According to the plaintiffs, the physicians performing the operation failed to monitor her vital signs, as ordered by the attending physician, which led to her death.

“She was a healthy girl,” said Emily’s grandmother Barbara Shank. “She took tennis lessons. She took golf lessons. She swam. She traveled.”

Details Hazy

It may be years before details about the exact cause of Emily’s death are revealed, if they ever are.

Emily died in 2004, and the case likely won’t go to trial for two to five years more, and that’s only if the lawsuit isn’t settled.

About 90 to 95 percent of medical malpractice lawsuits are settled out of court, however, according to the Shanks’ attorney Patricia Cummings.

Victim of Medical Malpractice?


If you or a loved one has suffered a serious injury or death as a result of medical malpractice, you may be able to recover compensation for your injuries, missed work, medical expenses, and more. Please contact us today for a complimentary consultation with an experienced medical malpractice attorney who can answer all your questions and help you get on the right track to recouping your losses. Medical malpractice is a complex area of law, and successful prosecution requires extensive medical expertise, experience and other important services, all of which we can provide. 


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