Because of ongoing abdominal pain, plaintiff planned an elective cholecystectomy in September 2017. Instead, because of pain associated with gallbladder disease, plaintiff’s surgery was moved up and the counseling physician’s surgical partner was scheduled to perform the procedure. Plaintiff had an extensive abdominal surgical history, largely due to ovarian disease. This history was made known to the surgeon.
A laparoscopic procedure was performed, during which an unrecognized iatrogenic injury to the small bowel occurred at the umbilicus port site. Despite the defendant surgeon’s contention that a close inspection of the umbilicus port site was performed upon exiting the abdomen, that inspection was not documented in the operative note.
On postoperative day one, plaintiff’s mother called the surgeon’s office twice with reports of her experiencing unrelenting pain. The plaintiff was not seen after complaints were made. Early on in postoperative day three, plaintiff’s abdomen erupted, with fecal material spilling out. After being rushed to the hospital, emergency surgery was performed by the surgeon who initially recommended the procedure. A 0.5 cm enterotomy was discovered at the umbilicus port site. The small bowel was resected and repaired.
A hospital stay of several weeks followed, both in the ICU and the medical surgical floor. After repeated reparative surgeries, mostly to address necrotizing fasciitis, plaintiff was discharged with a wound vac, which has since been removed.
Type of action: Medical malpractice
Injuries alleged: Unrecognized enterotomy to the small bowel during a laparoscopic cholecystectomy.
Tried before: Mediation
Name of mediator: Hon. Thomas S. Shadrick (Ret.)
Date resolved: Aug. 22, 2019
Special damages: Scarring, as well as pain and suffering. Over $200,000 in medical specials.
Offer: None before mediation
Verdict or settlement: Settlement
Attorneys for plaintiff: John Fletcher and Robert Moreland, Norfolk