February 8th, 2010
07:05 PM ET
13 years ago

Source explains Murtha's cause of death

Washington (CNN) - Pennsylvania Rep. John Murtha died Monday as a result of recent gallbladder surgery complications which arose from doctors accidentally nicking Murtha's intestines, a source close to the late congressman has told CNN. The procedure was "routine minimally invasive surgery," but doctors "hit his intestines," the source said.

Related: Congressman, combat veteran Murtha dies at 77

–CNN's Sabriya Rice contributed to this report

Filed under: John Murtha
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. tman

    I grieve for Rep. Murtha's family. I had surgery Feb 5 and i tried to tell some people that even "routine minimally invasive surgery" that the doctor had did hundreds of times was like making a routine aircraft landing. You still had to pay attention. I was lucky again.

    February 8, 2010 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  2. CAW in MD

    Well, this oughta be interesting. A medical mistake was made, resulting in a man's death. If Republicans have their way with tort reform, they would pay Murtha's widow $250K, and call it good. I certainly hope the Obama administration uses this case as a "teachable moment" for folks who don't understand what tort reform really means.

    February 8, 2010 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  3. Florence

    This is common among inexperienced surgeons...what folks don't realize it's the residents (3rd-4th year interns) who perform the surgery not the attending. My advice if you're going to have surgery make sure you insist that the attending perform the surgery and get it in writing. Take it from me I work in the healthcare industry, 16 years as a nurse; 5 of which in surgical intensive care. Believe me this happens alot.

    February 8, 2010 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  4. j

    sounds like the start of a medical malpractice suit.

    February 8, 2010 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  5. A keen observer

    Sounds like the best healthcare system in the world needs a little work. Don't worry though, the Republican's tort reform will prevent your heirs from suing a doctor when he or she kills you.

    Sounds like a wonderful Republican idea! And people say the obstructionists have no ideas.

    February 8, 2010 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  6. Nancy

    I am so sorry about John Murtha. I hope those doctors are sued for all they are worth. That's uncalled for. I don't know how young these doctors are but I do know that doctors aren't like they used to be. LIke when I go to the doctor and I tell them my symptoms, they just tell me my indigestion is just part of the aging process. It seems like they don't care if the patient is over a certain age because they are going to die sooner or later anyway. Technology is so advanced and they think they can approach it haphazardly. They should be more careful. It makes me not want to ever have surgery.

    February 8, 2010 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  7. Center left-out

    R.I.P comrade Murtha.

    February 8, 2010 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  8. bennie new york

    This sucks. Another political great lost, at a time when he is sorely needed.

    February 8, 2010 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  9. Cathy

    This is what happened to my friend Anne. I really thought she was going to die, and I guess I was right she may have been close to death.

    February 8, 2010 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  10. Tony in Maine

    Like Murtha, I served my country, but I disagreed with much of what he espoused. That said, I will not join those who rejoice at his death. Human beings don't do that. We have become a mean spirited nation.

    Peace John. May you find peace.

    February 8, 2010 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  11. Minnesota gal

    He really fought for the Veterans and the Military. And PA has suffered a great lost.

    Back in 1990 I had that surgery. The doctor who performed the surgery had only done several other cases and it was successful. But then since it was new, he was probably more careful. Being 20 years later I guess it has become too routine and mistakes happen.

    February 8, 2010 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  12. JLP

    This is not the first time this has happened during gall blader surgery. It happened to a friend of mine`s father in 2009. There is no excuse
    for this happening and is one of the reasons why there are malpractice lawsuits. A complete review of procedures needs to be done so this kind of mistake can be reduced or eliminated. I know that I would be very carefull when choosing a surgeon to perform this procedure on me.

    February 8, 2010 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  13. jules sand-perkins

    I had a friend who died from this same surgical accident.
    Knowing its possibility doesn't seem to eliminate its occuring.
    A pianist who plays a clinker in a concert usually makes that particular error for the last time, but I am not a surgeon.

    Something that can easily be avoided is the disrepect for the dead shown in earlier comments made about Murtha today. Do his critics expect him to arise and change himself?

    February 8, 2010 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  14. Marie Laveaux

    Wow, what a bummer! Let's hear it for tort reform, Republicans.

    February 8, 2010 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  15. Samuel

    I don’t know much about the man or his politics, but my prayers go out to his family and loved ones. It’s hard to lose someone unexpectedly no matter how old they are.

    February 8, 2010 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  16. Chispter

    And Republicans want Tort reform to limit the liability for incompetent doctors who kill the people we love! Doctors removed the wrong kidney, leaving my uncle with no option but dialysis and years of waiting for a donor kidney. Thankfully, he received a kidney and had seven good years before he died.

    Republicans think healthcare providers shouldn't be held responsible for carelessness, DUI (doctoring under the influence), and gross negligence.

    February 8, 2010 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  17. Doraine Gordon

    I am heartbroken to hear of John Murtha's death. I will always remember hearing him talk about visiting our Servicemen in the VA hospitals. He was a good man and a good representative for his state. He will be missed.

    February 8, 2010 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  18. Independant from IA

    It's a day of sadness for sure. While I did not condone Murtha's stance and outburts against the war I still don't wish him or any of hisFamily any ill feeling, but rather his passing will go easy for his family and Friends. God Bless the war Vet.
    Independant from Iowa

    February 8, 2010 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |