Perforated Bowel Infection: $2 Million Settlement

2018 Medical Malpractice Trial Report

Perforated bowel during weight loss surgery causes massive infection, host of injuries and additional surgeries

The 55-year-old plaintiff had weight loss surgery and suffered a perforation at the splenic flexure which necessitated multiple additional surgeries, including a colectomy that ultimately failed and required a diverting ileostomy. He thereafter suffered renal failure, respiratory failure (requiring ventilator support), placement of a tracheostomy, and developed vocal cord paralysis and an enterocutaneous fistula and a significantly prolonged recovery.

The plaintiff underwent elective laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy. Postoperatively, he tolerated a full liquid diet, with improvement in his oral intake. His GI tract function returned and he ambulated with good pain control. He was discharged home.

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Two days later he returned to the hospital via ambulance. His complaints included dehydration and constipation, in addition to mental status changes. In the ED, he had low blood pressure and received IV hydration with improvement in his mental status. He was admitted for further evaluation. Throughout the day, he developed septic shock, and aggressive resuscitative efforts were insufficient. He was taken back to the operating room for exploratory surgery.

A massive infection was found along with a perforation along the superior aspect of the transverse colon close to the splenic flexure. The left half of the transverse colon was resected, and then an end-to-end hand-sewn anastomosis was performed. Thereafter, a punctate hole was identified on the gastric sleeve, on its lower part, draining bilious fluid. This was repaired with an omental patch. Altogether, four Jackson Pratt drains were placed after abdominal washout. When the surgery was completed, the patient was transferred to the ICU intubated and in critical condition. He developed septic shock and DIC.

The patient underwent a second exploratory laparotomy at which time an additional leak was found. A diverting ileostomy and feeding jejunostomy were placed. Following the procedure, he required a tracheostomy. He had a difficult course including additional surgeries, developed a bed sore, and had to spend several months in rehabilitation. He was rendered disabled from his job as a cook.

The plaintiff claimed the surgeon botched the operation causing a perforated bowel, and failed to recognize and repair it before closing.

The case settled prior to trial for $2,000,000.

Attorneys representing the plaintiff: Andrew C. Meyer, Jr. and William J. Thompson, Lubin & Meyer PC.

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