On May 12, 2022, a Pennsylvania medical malpractice jury returned its verdict for the plaintiff after a three-day trial and less than three hours of deliberations in the amount of $1.6 million for past and future suffering following a botched surgical procedure.
The Pennsylvania medical malpractice lawsuit alleged that the now 76-year-old plaintiff had a colon resection procedure for a stricture on May 18, 2015, during which defendant Dr. William N. Gilleland, Jr. negligently stapled the plaintiff’s colon to an area of surrounding tissue, thereby creating a fistula and a leak from her colon into surrounding areas. The plaintiff subsequently required at least three surgical procedures to repair the damage.
The plaintiff alleged in her Pennsylvania medical malpractice lawsuit that she knew something was wrong immediately after the surgery when she awoke from surgery in excruciating pain that never went away. The plaintiff alleged that during her follow-up appointment with the defendant surgeon, she was in so much pain that was unable to walk. It was not until she sought a second opinion from another physician who ordered diagnostic medical testing that she became aware that the initial surgery was performed improperly. A subsequent extensive surgery to repair the defect included an ileostomy after which another surgery was required to reverse the ileostomy. The plaintiff spent two painful weeks in the hospital.
A key piece of evidence at trial was a slide containing tissue from the errant staple used during the initial surgery. A forensic pathologist who testified on behalf of the plaintiff during trial testified that the tissue was from two areas of the plaintiff’s body.
Despite the passage of seven years since the original surgery, the plaintiff claimed that she still experiences recurring complications from the initial surgery.
After the Pennsylvania medical malpractice jury awarded the plaintiff $1 million for past damages and $600,000 for future pain, suffering, and disfigurement, her Pennsylvania medical malpractice lawyer stated, “A doctor’s duty of care extends the entire length of a surgical procedure. Here, there was no dispute that the doctor performed the first half of the procedure properly, but that does not give you a pass to perform the second half of the procedure improperly. Hopefully this verdict will lead to doctors taking accountability when the care they provide their patients is clearly inadequate.”
The defendants reportedly filed a motion for new trial in the trial court. Depending on how the trial court rules on the defendants’ motion for new trial, the defendants may file an appeal.
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