On May 31, 2018, after an almost two-week trial, a Massachusetts medical malpractice jury determined that the defendant surgeon and his nurse assistant had breached the standard of care in performing a laparoscopic hiatal hernia repair surgery during which mesh was used, and that the medical negligence of the defendants resulted in the death of the patient.
The defendant bariatric surgeon, who is in his early 70s and works for the hospital where the 2013 surgery took place, was alleged to have committed medical negligence in the Massachusetts medical malpractice wrongful death lawsuit that was filed in 2015. The Massachusetts medical malpractice lawsuit alleged that the defendant bariatric surgeon used tacks in securing the mesh he implanted in the patient to close the hole in the patient’s diaphragm, which was alleged by the plaintiff to have been a risky method of repairing the patient’s hernia.
The Massachusetts medical malpractice plaintiff alleged that the tacks used to fixate the mesh to the patient’s diaphragm reached onto her heart, as evidenced by puncture marks found on her heart during an autopsy following her death from cardiac arrest two days after the surgery. The defense argued that the marks found on the patient’s heart during the autopsy were caused by the chest compressions used during efforts to resuscitate her.
The plaintiff reportedly provided evidence to the jury that the defendant bariatric surgeon did not keep current with laparoscopic techniques involving hernia repair and was not current with regard to safety warnings involving the surgical equipment that he used during the patient’s surgery. The defense countered that the defendant surgeon had successfully performed hundreds of similar surgeries without incident and that he was well-trained and well-respected by his peers in the Boston area.
The defense has not indicated whether an appeal will be filed.
A website states the following, in part, with regard to the defendant bariatric surgeon: “From 1994 to 1999, [he] was the chief of the Department Of Surgery at Boston Regional Medical Center, Stoneham, Massachusetts. In 2004, he became medical director of Bariatric Surgical Services at Winchester Hospital in Winchester, Massachusetts. He is also an assistant clinical professor of surgery at Tufts University School of Medicine … [he] has performed more than 1,200 bariatric surgery procedures of all types, is a Fellow of the American College of Surgery and a Fellow of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery and is board certified in surgery. Additionally, he belongs to many professional societies including the Boston Surgical Society, American Medical Society and Massachusetts Medical Society.”
If you or a loved one suffered serious harm in Massachusetts or in another U.S. state that may be due to surgical malpractice, you should promptly find a Massachusetts medical malpractice lawyer, or a medical malpractice lawyer in your state, who may investigate your surgical malpractice claim for you and represent you in a surgical medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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