Failure to Diagnose Perforated Intestine: $1.5 Million Settlement

2018 Medical Malpractice Trial Report

Wrongful death lawsuit alleged 58 year old man should have been admitted to the hospital for abdominal CT scan and surgical consult

On 5/10/13, at 8:22 p.m., the decedent presented to the emergency department with complaints of severe abdominal pain (7-8/10) and nausea since 4:00 p.m. that same afternoon. He was examined by the emergency medicine defendant approximately 45 minutes later. On physical examination, his abdomen was noted as diffusely tender with normal bowel sounds, no rebound and no guarding. There was mild distension with no flank tenderness and no tympany. A STAT abdominal x-ray film for evaluation of a small bowel obstruction was ordered. He was given medication for pain and nausea.

See similar cases:
Bowel Perforation Settlement: $3.5 Million
Death from bowel perforation and infection following elective disc surgery

Surgery Malpractice Settlement: $2 Million
64-year-old woman dies from bowel perforation following elective surgery to remove ovary

At approximately 9:51 p.m., the abdominal x-ray was completed and the decedent returned to the emergency room to await re-evaluation by the defendant. He continued to complain of 7/10 abdominal pain. At this time of night there were no radiologists available to review plain films and the emergency medicine physicians performed their own reviews of these films. The films were then re-reviewed in the morning by radiology. The defendant reviewed this film and determined it to be normal with no findings of SBO. At approximately 10:45 p.m., the defendant re-examined the decedent and discharged him with a diagnosis of acute abdominal pain and constipation, and recommended magnesium citrate and/or fleets enema.

Plaintiff’s expert reviewed the 5/10/13 abdominal x-ray study and was prepared to testify that it was abnormal and showed findings of possible air fluid levels indicative of a perforation. The decedent should have been admitted, had an abdominal CT scan done and a surgical consult immediately.

Approximately 8 hours after his discharge, the decedent returned to the emergency room complaining of diffuse abdominal pain and vomiting. His abdominal exam was abnormal and CT scan revealed a large amount of free air and fluid within the intraperitoneal cavity, consistent with a perforated viscus. The plan was to take him to the operating room, however, his condition progressed rapidly due to the abdominal catastrophe and he died that day.

The case settled in the months before trial for $1,500,000.

Worcester Superior Court

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

Questions about a surgical error or a failure to diagnose?

Do you have questions about a death or serious medical injury resulting from a medical error or a delay in diagnosis?

Contact Us - There is no fee or cost to you to have your case evaluated by our qualified medical malpractice attorneys. Call 800-866-2889 to speak with an attorney today.

Lubin & Meyer PC - Boston’s Innovative Leader in Medical Malpractice and Personal Injury Law

Our medical malpractice lawyers are licensed to practice in: Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island.

Return to: Verdicts & Settlements - medical malpractice case archive

Return to: Lubin & Meyer home page