Case #4001: Unnecessary colectomy on a 19 year-old woman leads to lifelong disability
On November 12, the Plaintiff, a 19-year-old female, presented to the Defendant Hospital under the care of the Defendant Surgeon. Due to colonic dysmotility, the Defendant Surgeon advised the Plaintiff to undergo a subtotal colectomy. The Plaintiff alleged that in a 19-year-old female, recommending and performing a colectomy is contraindicated and therefore violates the standards of care. The standard of care was to recommend management of her condition well short of the surgery he performed. Had the Defendant conformed with the standards of care, the Plaintiff would have been medically managed with her condition stabilized. The operation was performed on November 12.
On November 25, the Plaintiff returned to the Defendant Hospital’s emergency department with complaints of severe abdominal pain. On November 26, the Plaintiff underwent a CT scan of the abdomen. The radiologist reported numerous pockets of fluid suggestive of an anastomotic leak. The Plaintiff was returned to an operating room by a new surgeon for an exploratory laparotomy. The surgeon then resected 1.5 feet of small bowel and performed a permanent ileostomy. The Plaintiff is totally disabled from work, cannot absorb nutrition in a normal fashion, and now has 8-10 episodes of diarrhea daily since her ileostomy was reversed.