A co-worker hurt his back on the job and needed surgery. The surgery went fine but he died in the hospital from complicationsa few days later. Will his wife get workers compensation benefits?

Absoulutely.  We just handled a similarly tragic case in Virginia, where a delivery driver herniated a disc in his back at work.  Within a few days, his doctors recommended surgery for this work related condition.  While hospitalized following surgery, he developed a pulmonary embolism (a blood clot that usually forms in the legs, particularly the calves and breaks off, traveling to the lung where it blocks air flow).

The workers compensation insurance company denied benefits to the injured worker's widow.  We hired medical experts to prove the death was caused by pulmonary embolism following the surgery and that it resulted from the initial work injury.  Just before the hearing, the insurance company agreed to pay everything to the widow - death benefits, medical expenses and the funeral bill.

In DC, Virginia and Maryland, this situation is sometimes called a compensable consequence of the work injury.  Generally, an injured worker (or his family) is entitled to workers compensation benefits if an injury is made worse by a complication of treatment or surgery or  medical malpractice.