Many people might think that getting one’s tonsils removed sounds like a simple, routine surgery. That doesn’t mean that the procedure never goes wrong or endangers a person’s life. An out-of-state family has learned in the most tragic way possible that even a tonsils surgery can be deadly.

CNN reports that a 13-year-old who suffered from sleep apnea and related health troubles underwent a tonsillectomy to try to improve her condition. Last week’s surgery, however, didn’t improve the child’s life. Instead, the girl is brain-dead as a result of complications following the procedure.

The child went into cardiac arrest and lost an excessive amount of blood following the surgery. From a patient safety standpoint, the question is whether the victim’s current status as 100 percent brain-damaged and “medically dead” is the result of a surgical error or another form of medical malpractice.

A representative for the coroner’s office suggests that a sensitive balance of priorities is at-play in this medical situation. On one hand, the child’s family wants to keep their child alive and on life support, even though doctors assert that she is gone. The family might also want answers, answers that the coroner’s office claims will be harder to identify the longer the victim is on life support.

At this point, the child is still on life support due to the family’s persistence and legal action. The family’s comments and upset regarding the medical incident suggest that they are not going to take their loss without a fight. Whether that fight will include a medical malpractice claim is for further investigation and the future to tell.

Source: CNN, “Family wants to keep life support for girl brain dead after tonsil surgery,” Mayra Cuevas, Dec. 17, 2013