Case #4040 Brain Injury as a Result of Medical Negligence

Verdict/Settlement

$2,350,000

Summary

On November 2, the Claimant was admitted to the Defendant Hospital for purposes of the removal of an abdominal teratoma.  At the time of the surgery, it was not known whether the teratoma was benign or malignant.

Contrary to the standards of care, hospital personnel elected to attempt removal of this abdominal mass through a laparoscope, rather than an open procedure.  It is asserted that the use of a laparoscopic procedure under these circumstances violated the standards of care for two reasons.  First, the abdominal mass was inaccessible through the use of a laparoscope; and second, the removal of a potentially malignant teratoma through a laparoscope would require sectioning and, therefore, would result in the spread of the cancer if the teratoma was malignant.  Accordingly, the standards of care required the operating surgeons to utilize an open procedure with direct visualization which would have permitted direct access and a clear view of the abdominal mass, as well as the ability to remove it en bloc — without cutting into the mass and spreading any potentially malignant cells.

As indicated above, the hospital personnel utilized the wrong procedure.  However, their negligence did not end there.  During the course of the laparoscopy, they lacerated the vena cava as well as the duodenum.  It is asserted that at all times during the course of such a procedure, operating surgeons are required by the standards of care to identify, isolate and protect surrounding vital structures.  Contrary to the standards of care, they failed to do so and damaged both the vena cava as well as the duodenum. Although the surgeons recognized the injury to the vena cava and made a repair, they negligently failed to recognize the damage to the duodenum.  Accordingly, the Claimant was returned to the recovery room and subsequently to a hospital room in a severely injured and debilitated condition.  Obviously, had the surgeons operated appropriately with an open procedure, all of the injuries and damages would have been avoided.

As a direct and proximate result of their continuing and compounded negligence, the Claimant suffered horrendous injuries which include, but are not limited to: kidney failure and the subsequent loss of a kidney; stroke (which has physically and mentally impaired him); severe and ongoing necrotizing fasciitis; and the requirement of a gastrojejunostomy tube for feeding as he was unable to ingest food orally.  As the result of all of these injuries, the Claimant was forced to remain confined at the Defendant Hospital from November 2, until January when he was discharged in a severely injured and disabled state.

Due to the negligence of duly authorized agents and/or employees of the Defendant Hospital, the Claimant has lost all of the fascia and musculature in his abdominal area, and only has a thin layer of skin covering the damaged portion of his abdomen.  As a result, he has been rendered totally disabled, and has lost the quality of life he enjoyed prior to the hospital’s negligence.

Subsequently, the Claimant required readmission to the Hospital for a Whipple procedure — an extremely complex, debilitating surgical procedure.  Further, he has required ligation of his vena cava due to the negligence involved, and subsequently has been readmitted to the Hospital for the removal of an abscess which formed in his abdomen due to the negligence described.

The Claimant is now totally disabled.  Prior to the ongoing negligence complained of, the Claimant enjoyed an excellent state of health.  In fact, he had attained his Bachelor’s Degree in Theological Studies from a local Bible College as well as a Bachelor’s Degree in Biblical Studies from that Bible College.   Prior to the negligence complained of, the Claimant worked as the Director of Admissions, Housing Coordinator as well as an Instructor for the Bible College — all of which he has lost as the result of to the negligence complained of.  Not only is he unable to function in those roles; he is unable to function as a Pastor, and has additionally lost his housing allowance which he enjoyed as a part of his employment prior to the negligence referred to herein.

At the present time, the Claimant is unable to pursue any physical activities due to the injuries he has sustained.  He cannot even sleep in a bed.  Rather, he is required to sleep in a chair with his feet above the level of his heart because of the injuries sustained.  He cannot even lift a gallon of milk.  Additionally, he suffers with severe and chronic pain and specifically pain in the back due to the injuries sustained.  Further, he will require ongoing medical care as well as surgical and other care for the remainder of his life.  The Claimant has additionally suffered brain injury as the result of the negligence and specifically, a stroke.