$1.75 Million Jury Verdict for Death of Patient from Septic Shock Following Laparoscopic Surgery

Deborah Larkin, 42, underwent laparoscopic surgery. Over the next two days she complained of severe pain even with the use of medication. Larkin also developed tachycardia, low sodium levels, hypotension and an abnormally high white blood cell count.

A kidney physician, a nephrologist, diagnosed sepsis prompting the surgeon to order a swallow study which did not show any internal leakage. However, the laboratory results did show decreased CO2 and increased lactate levels.

Larkin’s conditioned worsened. She was transferred to intensive care the next day in respiratory distress with kidney failure. The surgeon performed exploratory surgery, which revealed that a 4-millimeter gastric leak was the cause of Larkin’s septic shock.

Larkin never regained consciousness and died about a month and a half after the surgery. She was survived by two children.

The Larkin family sued the hospital and surgeon claiming delayed diagnosis and treatment of sepsis. According to the plaintiffs, the surgeon should have timely transferred her to the ICU and ordered testing, such as an ultrasound, to diagnose the cause of the infection.

The jury signed a verdict of $1.75 million, which was reduced to $250,000 under California’s damages cap. The attorneys representing the Larkin family were Gary Schneider and Nancy Siccama. At trial, the Larkins presented an expert in general surgery while the defendants presented experts in general surgery and infectious disease.

Larkin v. Regents of the University of California, No. BC567144 (Cal. Super. Los Angeles County, July 15, 2016).

Kreisman Law Offices has been successfully handling medical malpractice cases, hospital negligence cases and physician negligence cases for individuals and families who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of a medical provider for more than 40 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including University Park, Calumet City, Wilmette, Evanston, Skokie, Vernon Hills, Buffalo Grove, Westmont, Country Club Hills, Chicago (Rogers Park, Albany Park, Bronzeville, Kenwood, South Shore, East Side), Lincolnshire and Lincolnwood, Ill.

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