A Georgia medical malpractice jury recently returned its verdict in favor of the defendant surgeon in a medical malpractice case that alleged that the surgeon waited too long to operate on a man who had undergone gallbladder removal surgery the day before and had internal bleeding as a result.
The plaintiff alleged that he was unable to work for six years and was hospitalized for over eight months as a result of the defendant surgeon’s medical negligence in failing to operate on his abdomen the day he arrived at the hospital following his successful gallbladder surgery.
The Alleged Underlying Facts
The plaintiff had his gallbladder removed on January 28, 2009. He was discharged from the hospital the same day but felt pain and was weak while at home. The next morning, his wife brought him to the hospital because his condition had not improved. At the hospital, the plaintiff’s blood pressure was found to be low and a CT scan showed a large amount of fluid in his abdomen.
The defendant surgeon was consulted at the hospital regarding the plaintiff’s condition. The defendant surgeon ordered medications and fluids to be administered to increase the man’s blood pressure but the defendant surgeon decided against performing surgery that day. The following day, the defendant surgeon operated on the man, whose condition had deteriorated and now included kidney dysfunction, and drained almost one liter of blood and fluid from the man’s abdominal cavity. The defendant surgeon also found that the man’s bowel was ischemic and that most of it had died; the surgeon removed two feet of the man’s colon, reattached the two ends, and performed an ileostomy.
Three months later, when the defendant surgeon attempted to reverse the ileostomy, complications arose that led to significant leakage that resulted in the man being hospitalized for eight months.
The Plaintiff’s Allegations Of Medical Malpractice
The plaintiff’s medical expert testified during the Georgia medical malpractice trial that the defendant surgeon was medically negligent by failing to operate on the man the same day that he arrived at the hospital following the gallbladder surgery instead of waiting until the next morning to operate. The basis of the plaintiff’s expert’s opinion was that the man was actively bleeding when he was admitted to the hospital, resulting in decreased blood flow to the man’s colon due to accumulating fluid in his abdomen putting pressure on his colon. The plaintiff’s expert testified that had the defendant surgeon timely performed abdominal surgery to remove the abdominal fluid, the man’s colon would have been saved.
The Defense Arguments
The defense argued that the man did experience post-operative bleeding following his gallbladder surgery but that the bleeding had stopped before the man went to the hospital the day after his surgery; otherwise, the man would have died from internal bleeding if the bleeding had continued at the same rate. The defendant surgeon also contended that blood counts and other indictors of the man’s medical condition supported his decision that the man did not require surgery on the day he arrived at the hospital.
The defendant surgeon testified that post-operative bleeding following gallbladder surgery was not uncommon but an ischemic colon as a result was an extremely rare occurrence that he had never seen in any other patient. The defendant surgeon also testified that he found no evidence of unusual pressure on the man’s colon caused by fluid or blood when he operated on the man’s abdomen, and that the initial post-operative bleeding may have contributed to irreversible damage to the man’s colon before he had returned to the hospital.
The Georgia medical malpractice jury sided with the defendant surgeon.
If you were harmed as a result of medical negligence in Georgia or in another U.S. state, you should promptly find a Georgia medical malpractice lawyer, or a local medical malpractice lawyer in your state, who may investigate your medical malpractice claim for you and represent you in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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