Navy to review Murtha surgery for error

The Navy will conduct an in-depth review of the surgery performed on Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), a Navy spokesman said Wednesday.

The review could reveal if a surgical error led to the congressman's death.

Murtha died Feb. 8 from complications of gallbladder surgery that he underwent at Bethesda Naval hospital. After that surgery, Murtha sought care at a hospital in Arlington, Va.

Murtha's intestine was nicked during the procedure, leading to widespread infection, according to various reports.

Cmdr. Danny Hernandez told The Hill the review has multiple steps including a mortality and morbidity conference; a quality assurance investigation by an uninvolved subject matter expert; a review by a multi- disciplinary patient safety committee; and a consultation with Navy medicine and outside experts as required.

CNN first reported the news of the review.

Such in-depth reviews are standard procedure in situations such as Murtha's surgery, Hernandez said. He added that naval medicine "is continuously monitored."

Murtha, a retired Marine Corps colonel and the first Vietnam War veteran to serve in Congress, was buried on Tuesday in Johnstown, Pa. He was 77.

— This article was updated at 10:13 a.m.