Gastric Bypass Lawsuit Settlement Is $2M

2015 Medical Malpractice Trial Report

64-year-old man dies following gastrectomy surgery from internal bleeding

The decedent had a medical history including obesity, atrial fibrillation status post pacemaker implantation, multiple myeloma treated every six weeks with immunoglobulin and hydrocortisone, cardiac catheterization, chronic kidney disease stage four, hyperlipidemia, and two prior pulmonary emboli for which he took Coumadin.

The decedent elected to have gastrectomy surgery in order to improve his quality of life. As instructed, the decedent stopped his Coumadin five days prior to surgery and bridged with Lovenox prior to admission, at which point he was to be kept on heparin postoperatively.

The decedent underwent the gastric bypass with the defendant surgeon on 2/4/13. He was stable following the surgery and was admitted to a surgical floor. The following morning, on 2/5/13, the decedent complained of severe abdominal pain. Lab work was performed which showed that he was bleeding internally. His condition and the lab results were relayed by hospital staff to the defendant surgeon. Over the phone, the defendant ordered blood products be given to the decedent. The defendant surgeon failed to come and evaluate the decedent and failed to order any imaging to find the location of the bleeding. Throughout the remainder of the day, the decedent complained of severe pain with abnormal lab results. Late in the day, his blood pressure dropped and he began to have difficulty breathing. The defendant was again contacted about his condition. He ordered more labs be drawn and supportive care to be administered but again failed to come and evaluate the decedent.

By early evening, the decedent was confused, stuttering and having difficulty breathing. A critical care physician was called and he was emergently intubated. However, his condition continued to worsen, he became hypoxic and suffered cardiorespiratory arrest. Despite administration of CPR, the decedent could not be revived.

The plaintiff had an expert prepared to testify that the decedent’s required use of blood thinners put him at risk for bleeding complications following surgery. The plaintiff’s expert opined that the decedent was bleeding post-operatively and the defendant failed to evaluate the decedent and failed to take him back to the operating room to find the site of bleeding. The plaintiff’s expert further opined that post-operative bleeding for these types of procedures are not uncommon and are easily repaired if the patient is brought back to the operating room before they become unstable.

The case settled for $2,000,000 prior to the filing of the complaint.

Lubin & Meyer attorney Robert M. Higgins represented the plaintiff in this medical malpractice lawsuit.

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