A $2.25 million settlement was reached in a medical malpractice suit against a surgeon for bowel perforation and premature discharge from the emergency department after elective hernia repair, resulting in hospital re-admission, sepsis, multiple repeat surgeries to address necrosis and ischemia, ventilator dependence, and eight-month hospital stay.
Plaintiff, a 54 year old, underwent elective hernia repair on January 8, 2019 due to a non-obstructive hernia that had caused discomfort. The hernia was reduced back into the abdomen without complications. The next day he returned to the hospital complaining of constipation, pain, and a bloated abdomen. His surgeon from the hernia repair operation evaluated him in the emergency department, prescribed pain medications and ordered an abdominal CT. The CT imaging showed abnormalities which defendant doctor attributed to “normal post-operative findings.”
Rather than watch plaintiff over the course of the next few hours, defendant ordered him discharged. Plaintiff returned to the emergency department within 36 hours in septic shock. He was hypoxic, hypotensive, with altered mental status. He was urgently intubated, placed on vasopressor support and returned to the operating room to repair a bowel perforation created during initial hernia surgery. He remained hospitalized for an additional eight months requiring 11 surgeries to address necrosis of the small bowel and gallbladder, resection of the diseased tissue, discontinuity within the gastrointestinal tract along with fistula, until repaired one year later.
Damages included permanent short bowel syndrome, PTSD, nutritional deficiency, peritonitis, adhesions, and skin grafting to abdominal wall. Plaintiff claimed that had the likelihood of perforation been recognized during his first emergency department visit 24 hours after surgery, intervention with antibiotics would have prevented progression to septic shock with multiple surgical procedures required to halt necrosis and organ failure.
Bruce H. Nagel, Esq. and Susan F. Connors, Esq. handled the case.