(CNN) – Taking out a patient's gallbladder is routine. At least 500,000 such surgeries are done each year in the United States. It takes an hour or two, and the patient can go home that day or the next.
But in rare cases, the surgery can be deadly. Democratic Rep. John Murtha of Pennsylvania recently died after complications from the procedure after doctors "hit his intestines" during surgery, a source close to the late congressman told CNN.
Murtha underwent the scheduled laparoscopic surgery at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, on January 28, to remove his gallbladder, and was discharged. Three days later, he was admitted to Virginia Hospital Center's Intensive Care Unit because of major complications from surgery, the hospital said in a statement. He died there Monday at age 77.
The National Naval Medical Center declined to reveal additional details on Murtha's death.