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.

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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.