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Home / Verdicts & Settlements / Elderly man died after colonoscopy — $300,000 settlement

Elderly man died after colonoscopy — $300,000 settlement

Type of action: Wrongful death by medical negligence under the Federal Tort Claims Act

Injuries alleged: Gastrointestinal hemorrhage leading to hypovolemic shock and death

Court: U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia, Roanoke Division

Tried before: Mediation

Name of judge or mediator: Judge Robert S. Ballou

Date resolved: 5/7/2021

Special damages: $87,131.99 in medical and funeral expenses

Verdict or settlement: Settlement

Amount: $300,000

Attorneys for plaintiff (and city): Anthony M. “Tony” Russell, Roanoke, and Les Bowers, Charlottesville

Description of case: An 85-year-old man with substantial pre-existing medical conditions, including a significant bleeding risk and a life expectancy of only a few years, underwent a diagnostic colonoscopy at a Veterans Affairs medical center for anemia. During the diagnostic colonoscopy, the gastroenterologist did not find any cause for the patient’s anemia but removed 19 polyps on the ground that the gastroenterologist was afraid that the polyps could turn into cancer. Post-procedure, the gastroenterologist resumed the patient’s aspirin and discharged the patient back to a small rural local community. One day after the diagnostic colonoscopy, the patient suffered a gastrointestinal hemorrhage and died a few days later from hypovolemic shock.

Decedent was retired and there was no lost wage claim. Decedent’s medical and funeral expenses totaled $87,131.99. The statutory beneficiaries were his wife and two adult children. As it was a FTCA case, the trial would be a bench trial.