Type of action: Medical malpractice
Injuries alleged: Biliary injuries, abdominal scarring
Name of judge or mediator: Judge Michael Allen (Ret.)
Special damages: Medical expenses of $389,000; lost income of $26,500
Verdict or settlement: Settlement
Attorney for plaintiff (and city): Jonathan L. Thornton, Virginia Beach
Description of case: Plaintiff underwent an elective laparoscopic cholecystectomy, which defendant surgeon described as “difficult” due to the gallbladder being intrahepatic with active gallstones. Defendant surgeon documented identifying two and only two structures attached to the gallbladder and also performed an intraoperative cholangiogram (IOC) to confirm the biliary structures before clipping and cutting what was identified as the cystic duct and cystic artery. The IOC, per the operative report and defendant’s testimony, was normal and reassuring as to the identification of these structures. Defendant was not aware that a request had to be made to preserve the IOC images and, as such, no images from the IOC were preserved and available for review. Audit trail information indicated that a radiology report for the IOC was prepared, but the report was not able to be produced. Following the procedure and discharge, plaintiff began experiencing nausea, vomiting and became jaundiced. Presentation to another hospital resulted in subsequent lab and imaging studies, which confirmed plaintiff’s common bile duct and right common hepatic duct had been clipped and transected. Plaintiff’s biliary surgeon placed drains and performed biliary reconstruction (a Roux-en-Y hepaticojejunostomy) with a favorable outcome. Plaintiff missed approximately seven months of work recovering from the biliary injuries and surgery, and incurred medical bills of approximately $390,000. Plaintiff has permanent abdominal scarring from the midline incision used to perform the biliary reconstruction. The case resolved at mediation with Judge Michael Allen (Ret.) approximately one month before trial.
Case information provided by plaintiff’s law firm.