Sunday, Sept. 19, 2010 | 2 a.m.
Do No Harm: Hospital Care in Las Vegas, Part 3
- Patients at risk under the knife
- Routine surgery, harrowing result
- A cry for help
- Doctors avoid discipline
- Colorado transparency unique
- Last drumroll
- How the Sun identified surgical injuries
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Mickey O’Neill, a 61-year-old drummer in a local Irish band, had outpatient laparoscopic surgery to remove his gall bladder June 2. A few hours after arriving home, he was throwing up and bleeding uncontrollably.
Mary Schwartz, O’Neill’s girlfriend of 18 years, called an ambulance to rush him back to the hospital. O’Neill never returned home.
The official cause of his death was a massive gastrointestinal hemorrhage, but doctors never found the source of the bleeding, she says.
“There are so many unanswered questions that are just haunting me. I know you’re supposed to have closure, but it’s just tearing at me. It’s hard to get past that.”
On Labor Day weekend, friends and family of O’Neill’s attempted to find some closure at the German-American Social Club in Las Vegas. In the tradition of an Irish wake, the mood was a mix of gaiety and sadness.
Drinks flowed. Friends read poems and told jokes.
O’Neill’s band, the Irish Affair, played upbeat oldies — without a drummer.