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Case #3084: Surgical Negligence in Bariatric Surgery


On January 7, Plaintiff, a 57 year old woman, presented to the Defendant Hospital to undergo a laparoscopic bariatric surgery.  The Plaintiff alleged that, postoperatively, the Plaintiff’s Decedent demonstrated signs of an intra-abdominal process which warranted eradication and surgical re-exploration.  The Plaintiff further alleged that the Defendant surgeon was negligent for failing to return Plaintiff to surgery for exploration to rule out the possibility of incarcerated bowel following a CT scan post operatively.

On January 11, Plaintiff was returned to surgery, at which time the Defendant surgeon encountered ischemic bowel which required the resection of a three foot segment of the small bowel.  The afternoon of January 11, Plaintiff was noted to have oliguric acute renal injury due to perioperative hypotension, gram-negative sepsis, fluid overload with worsening pulmonary edema, multi-system organ failure, respiratory failure and DIC and anemia.

Overnight, Plaintiff developed hypoglycemia and hypothermia.  The family was made aware of the dire clinical picture, and the decision was made to withdraw support.  Plaintiff was given morphine, pressors were discontinued, and she was extubated.  The Plaintiff passed away at 9:45 a.m.  Causes of death were listed as multiple organ failure, severe sepsis with septic shock, and ischemic bowel.

The Defendant surgeon’s failure to return Plaintiff to surgery in a timely manner allowed the process of intra-abdominal sepsis to become fulminant and impossible to resolve via pharmacological and surgical interventions.

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