Case #1035: Bowel Resection
On November 29, the Minor Plaintiff was sent by his family practitioner to the pediatric emergency department at the Defendant Anonymous Hospital due to abdominal pain with guarding, bloody vomiting, weakness and tachycardia. Within twenty-four hours of admission, he required fluid resuscitation due to severe dehydration, was lavaged because of the gastrointestinal bleeding, and admitted to the PICU for observation. He underwent an EGD to assess his upper gastrointestinal bleeding and a plain x-ray of the abdomen showed an atypical gas pattern in the bowel indicative of a small bowel obstruction or a focal ileus. By November 30, the patient’s condition, coupled with x-ray findings from November 29, required surgical laparotomy to correct ongoing small bowel obstruction. However, no surgery was done.
By December 1, the Minor Plaintiff’s complaints were compounded by an increase in his creatinine levels, a bandemia of 51 and a drop in the white blood cell count from 10,000 to 4,400 to 3,600. In short, the Minor Plaintiff was septic and still required immediate surgical intervention. Repeat abdominal x-rays revealed moderately distended bowel segments consistent with the small bowel obstruction. On December 2, at 8:45 a.m., additional abdominal films revealed a persistent, atypical bowel gas pattern indicative of gas in the bowel wall. These findings represented a surgical emergency for small bowel obstruction. A second set of abdominal x-rays taken ten hours thereafter revealed free air and air fluid levels within the abdomen, also representing a surgical emergency.
Finally, after negligently delaying for two more hours, the Minor Plaintiff was rushed to an operating room for an exploratory laparotomy, where a large amount of foul smelling fluid was immediately detected as well as an adhesion had caused an obstruction involving the mid-gut. After the bowel was finally released from the adhesion and untwisted, a huge resection was required involving most of the Minor Plaintiff’s small bowel and half of his large bowel.
Subsequent to this surgery, the Minor Plaintiff required additional resection due to perforation of the bowel. Post-operatively, the Minor Plaintiff suffered with multi-organ compromise and endured an ongoing stormy course and required transfer to a rehabilitation hospital where he was treated for several weeks due to the injuries.
The Plaintiff alleged that as result of the negligence of the Defendant hospital personnel, the Plaintiff lost so much bowel that he is unable to eat and enjoy normal foods as he is required to subsist on TPN (Total Parenteral Nutrition) — essentially a liquid diet infused into his body through a line bypassing his mouth and taste buds. Further, he will be deprived of adequate nourishment for the rest of his life, and therefore will be severely compromised in all bodily activities for the remainder of his life. Finally, he will be unable to hold gainful employment and will be dependent upon others due to the massive disability suffered as the result of the negligence of Defendant hospital personnel.