Medical Malpractice - Surgical Malpractice $600,000

Injuries Alleged - Wrongful Death
Court - Withheld
Amount of Settlement -- $600,000

Case Summary:

Plaintiff's decedent, a single, childless 50 year old woman, underwent an open cholecystectomy and common bile duct exploration by the defendant surgeon. While hospitalized, plaintiff's decedent was draining large volumes of fluid out of the T-tubes at the common bile duct but was discharged home with her T-tube in place. No cholangiograms were performed intra- or post-operatively. Plaintiff's decedent's family alleged that plaintiff was unable to keep any food or fluids down over the next few days and calls were placed to the defendant surgeon's office without response, until they were finally able to reach the surgeon, who directed them to bring his patient back to the hospital and that he would meet them there. Plaintiff's decedent was immediately brought back to the hospital, but the defendant surgeon failed to come in. Lab values ordered that night were grossly abnormal, and plaintiff's decedent was left to be cared for by the house officer. Plaintiff's decedent was transferred to another facility and underwent CT scan, which revealed diffuse pneumatosis intestinalis highly suggestive of an abdominal catastrophe. She was taken to the operating room for emergency laparotomy where fulminant end-stage intestinal necrosis was found. She was given comfort measures and died two days later, secondary to ischemic small bowel disease.

Plaintiff was prepared to present expert testimony that the defendant surgeon departed from standards of care by failing, inter alia, to perform intra-operative and post-operative cholangiogram; by discharging the plaintiff's decedent prematurely; and failing to return to the hospital to provide care when she was re-admitted. Plaintiff's expert was expected to testify that cholangiograms would have evidenced a retained gallstone, which would have then been removed in a timely fashion. Plaintiff's expert was further expected to testify that the defendant's negligence led to his patient's untimely demise.