Physicians Sued for Bowel Injury Resulting from Partial Nephrectomy

Posted in Medical Malpractice at 12:04 pm by kevin

A woman, who is 71 years old, underwent an open partial nephrectomy on her right kidney, and during the operation, the surgeon used electrocautery. But a week later, she was taken back to the emergency room due to abdominal pain. The ER physicians then spoke to the original surgeon and residents who gave the nephrectomy to the patient and learned of the use of electrocautery, and then suspected a bowel injury. They then gave her an emergency surgery to resect the injury on her small bowel.

She was discharged after 5 days, but then returned again a couple of days later, as she was still suffering from abdominal pain, and this time nausea and vomiting as well. It was then when she was diagnosed with a partial bowel obstruction, causing her to remain in the hospital for 5 days more. Apart from this, she had 2 additional operations within 2 months.

Because of the circumstances she have gone through, the patient sued the physicians involved with the nephrectomy, alleging the doctors neglected to treat the bowel injury during the initial operation. Her claim includes the doctors knowing of the injury at the time, but failed to tell her family about the injury, failed to take appropriate measures to treat it and failed to document the injury in their report or any medical record. She argued that their failure to treat the original injury made her suffer from life-threatening injuries, subsequently.

The defendants did not dispute her claims, but questioned whether they related to the original operation and the severity and mulled over the frequency of her complaints. As for the jury’s judgment, they awarded the patient with $1.1 million in total damages and $199,000 in interest, totaling nearly $1.3 million.


Cases That Can Lead to Medical Personal Injury Lawsuit

A special kind of personal injury, medical malpractice is brought against hospitals, doctors, nurses, emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and other medical personnel. This is a form of professional malpractice that applies only when a person is injured during some form of medical treatment or care. People who suffer from an injury due to this malpractice could hold the medical providers responsible for it under special rules that apply to this kind of professional negligence.

However, a victim could only hold the provider responsible if he or she can prove even one of the essential elements of a medical malpractice claim. These are: a) the health care provider had a duty to the patient; b) there was a breach of duty; c) some kind of harm was caused directly by breach of duty; and d) the injury may be compensated. If any of these elements are not present, then the victim may not make a malpractice claim.

Like any other personal injury case, the burden to prove the case will be on the plaintiff, and the doctor will not have to prove he was not. The standard of proof that will be used in assessing whether a plaintiff has proven his or her case is the evidence standard preponderance.