Articles Posted in Gastroenterology errors

A Texas Appellate Court has held that a trial court had not erred in denying a defendant’s motion to dismiss based on a plaintiff expert physician’s failure to perform the procedure at issue in the case within the last 20 years.

Alice Waggoner sued physician Dr. Carl Jones, maintaining that he breached the standard of care by performing an endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) before running another noninvasive test to determine whether an ERCP was necessary.

Under Texas law, the plaintiff served the defendant with an expert report by Dr. Perry Hookman, a board-certified physician in both internal medicine and gastroenterology.
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Vincent Minor was 28 years old when he underwent gastric bypass surgery. He developed an obstruction, which caused his stomach contents to back up above his lap band. During the surgery to remove the lap band, he began vomiting and aspirated vomit.

He later developed pneumonitis and acute respiratory distress syndrome and remained in a vegetative state until he passed away a month later. Minor was survived by his parents and two siblings.

The Minor family sued Dr. Joyce Hairston, the treating anesthesiologist, alleging that she had chosen not to place a nasogastric tube and failed to evacuate Minor’s stomach contents before intubating him. The lawsuit did not claim lost income.
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Ms. Doe, age 67, underwent elective laparoscopic hiatal hernia repair surgery. The procedure was completed by Dr. Roe, a surgeon, along with a nurse’s assistance. During the surgery, Dr. Roe used a tack applier to secure surgical mesh needed to patch an opening in Ms. Doe’s diaphragm.

The next day, Ms. Doe suffered atrial fibrillation and a rapid heartbeat. Ms. Doe coded that night and, despite extensive resuscitative efforts, she died.

Ms. Doe was survived by her husband and two adult children.
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The plaintiff, Stephan Urbaniak,was prescribed and took a drug called Reglan for six years. He developed severe movement disorders. The prescribing physician, Dr. John Ross, admits that he was unaware of the risk of developing these movement disorders from long-term use of this prescription drug.

By operation of the “learned intermediary doctrine,” the pharmacy cannot be held liable for choosing not to verbally warn the plaintiff or his physician about the medical risks associated with long-term use of Reglan.

There is no specific reason that the pharmacy could have known about that, which would have made plaintiff specifically someone who could not be treated with Reglan longer than 12 weeks.
Accordingly, the Illinois Appellate Court affirmed the dismissal of the lawsuit against the pharmacy and physician.
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