Mississippi’s The Clarion Ledger reported that on January 14, 2021, a Hinds County, Mississippi judge ordered Dr. Ronald Kotfila and the GI Associates clinic to pay an arbitrator’s award to a medical malpractice victim that is in excess of $6.1 million because the doctor and clinic had failed to obtain the patient’s informed consent regarding a medical procedure known as an endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography, after which the patient suffered life-altering complications.
The arbitrator awarded the patient past medical expenses in the amount of $775,918, pain and suffering damages in the amount of $500,000, loss of value of household services damages in the amount of $498,782, her lost wages/wage earnings in the amount of $1,062,831, and life care expenses in the amount of $3,292,831.
The patient had gone to the clinic about four years ago for diagnosis and treatment of stomach issues. She met with one of the GI specialists who diagnosed her as experiencing some common GI problems. When her condition failed to improve, she sought a second opinion two years later with another specialist, Dr. Kotfila, at the same GI clinic. Dr. Kotfila recommended an endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography, which he performed in December 2017.
The patient alleged that the December 2017 endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography directly led to her being admitted to the hospital for 28 days in May 2018, for which she incurred medical bills in the amount of $775,918. She claimed to have had six drains placed in her abdomen and that she was placed on a ventilator after she experienced collapsed lungs.
The patient alleged in her Mississippi medical malpractice claim that she has had to repeatedly visit hospital emergency rooms for the complications she experienced since the endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography procedure and she presently takes medication for the pain she experiences. She further alleged that she has been advised that she may experience the loss of her pancreas in the next five to fifteen years.
The woman, who had worked in the administrative office of a local county school district, stated after the arbitrator’s award, “It’s been really tough. It’s really hard to see my kids go through this. They’re missing their mom. My husband doesn’t have the wife that he married. The life we had dreamed of and wanted is gone. We won’t ever be able to have it.”
Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (“ERCP”)
Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography is a procedure that combines upper gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy and x-rays to treat problems of the bile and pancreatic ducts. ERCP is performed for the following: when bile or pancreatic ducts have become narrowed or blocked because of gallstones that form in the gallbladder and become stuck in the common bile duct; infection; acute pancreatitis; chronic pancreatitis; trauma or surgical complications in the bile or pancreatic ducts; pancreatic pseudocysts; tumors or cancers of the bile ducts; and, tumors or cancers of the pancreas.
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