Articles Posted in Surgical Errors

Frances Mitchell, 43, underwent outpatient laparoscopic surgery performed by surgeon Dr. Andrew Green at the Northeast Georgia Medical Center. Approximately 12 hours after the surgery, she returned to the medical center complaining of severe abdominal pain. Dr. Green examined her, diagnosed bladder spasms and discharged her.

Mitchell died several days later. She was survived by her mother and two children.

Mitchell’s family and estate filed a lawsuit against Dr. Green, the medical center, a physician group, and the health system alleging that she had suffered a bowel perforation during the surgery but that Dr. Green had chosen not to recognize and repair it intraoperatively.
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Lenville Hall Sr. underwent a laparoscopic right hemicolectomy at Southside Regional Medical Center. For the next eight days, urine accumulated in Hall’s abdomen, which required surgery to repair a severed right ureter.

The surgery was unsuccessful. Hall experienced multiple complications, which included infections and loss of kidney function. He now requires lifetime dialysis.

He sued the surgeon who did the first surgery, alleging that he negligently cut Hall’s ureter and chose not to timely recognize this during the post-operative period.
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Doe, who was born with the congenital heart defect tetralogy of Fallot, underwent surgery to repair the defect when he was an infant. Various echocardiograms during his childhood revealed a small hole in his atrial septum.

Tetralogy of Fallot is a congenital heart condition that involves four abnormalities occurring together, including a defective septum between the ventricles and narrowing of the pulmonary artery; it is accompanied by cyanosis.

At age 10, Doe underwent surgery to repair his pulmonary valve. Dr. Roe placed Doe on cardiopulmonary bypass but did not cross-clamp the aorta, which allowed air to pass from the right side of Doe’s heart through the atrial septal defect to the left side of Doe’s heart.
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Ms. Doe, 63, underwent a hysterectomy performed by Dr. Roe. Almost three weeks after the procedure, she was admitted to a hospital where testing showed that she had a gangrenous cecum.

Ms. Doe underwent two colectomy surgeries, was hospitalized for three weeks and required a month of inpatient rehabilitation.

Ms. Doe now suffers from chronic abdominal pain but is not a candidate for reversal of her colostomy. In addition, she requires daily in-home assistance.
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Mr. Doe, a diabetic who suffered from peripheral vascular disease, underwent a partial leg amputation. While undergoing inpatient rehabilitation, Mr. Doe developed symptoms of a gastrointestinal bleed and was readmitted to the hospital.

During Mr. Doe’s 5-day stay, his attending medical providers did not assess his surgical stump and nurses did not change his dressing.

Mr. Doe developed an infection of the incision site, resulting in gangrene. Consequently, Mr. Doe required a revision of the surgical stump. He sued the hospital alleging improper wound treatment.
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Daniel Scavetta, who had a history of intravenous drug abuse, began seeing internist Dr. James Agresti. Dr. Agresti prescribed Suboxone. After a colonoscopy revealed multiple polyps, including one that was too large to remove, Scavetta was referred to a colorectal surgeon, Dr. Joel Nizen.

A CT scan showed a 1.9 cm lesion in Scavetta’s liver and an enlarged spleen. This prompted the interpreting radiologist to recommend that Scavetta undergo an MRI of his abdomen. Although Dr. Nizen performed surgery approximately two weeks later, he did not investigate the lesion.

Approximately 13 months later, Scavetta saw blood in his urine. The CT scan and MRI revealed a 4.2 cm liver mass. Scavetta was subsequently diagnosed with having Stage IV hepatocellular carcinoma.
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Ms. Doe, 41, underwent a laparoscopic hysterectomy that was performed by Dr. Roe, an obstetrician. During the procedure, Dr. Roe discovered that a morcellator was unavailable and that the doctor could not complete the surgery as she had anticipated. A power morcellator is a surgical tool that surgeons use to cut bigger chunks of tissue into smaller ones usually during laparoscopic surgery. Surgeons use this tool mainly in gynecological procedures such as laparoscopic hysterectomy, as in this case.

Dr. Roe then bivalved Ms. Doe’s uterus manually and finished the surgery. Ms. Doe experienced postoperative sepsis and peritonitis.

An exploratory laparotomy revealed that Ms. Doe had a perforated bladder, small intestine, and rectosigmoid colon, as well as an injured urethra. A laparotomy is a surgical procedure with small incisions to the abdominal wall to gain access into the cavity.
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Thomas Lapsley went to a nearby hospital emergency room where doctors ordered a CT scan of his abdomen and pelvis. The scan revealed a lesion on his liver. A follow-up liver CT scan was ordered to rule out metastatic disease. There was nothing in the report as to the symptoms Lapsley might have experienced that prompted him to go to the emergency room.

After the CT scan, a surgeon, Dr. Ben Davis, did an exploratory laparotomy and repaired Lapsley’s gastric ulcer.

Over the next week, as Lapsley was admitted to the hospital, he did not undergo further evaluation of the liver mass and allegedly was not informed of the mass at his discharge. Eighteen months later, another doctor referred him for yet another CT scan. That scan led to a diagnosis of Stage IV metastatic cancer. Sadly, Lapsley died just one month later.
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Elizabeth Njinga suffered from back pain for a long period of time. She was referred to an orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Michael Alexiades. The doctor reviewed her x-rays and ordered an MRI.

Dr. Alexiades told Njinga that she had moderate degenerative changes in her hip and that her pain was coming from her hip and her back. The doctor recommended a hip replacement for pain relief.

After undergoing that surgery, Njinga experienced continued pain. Her relationship with her husband has been affected, and she is unable to travel extensively as she once did because of her condition.
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Mr. Doe, age 55, underwent surgery to repair a ruptured tendon in his right bicep. After the surgery, he complained to Dr. Roe, the surgeon, that he had numbness and tingling and could not feel his right hand.

Dr. Roe ordered an x-ray and allegedly told Mr. Doe that a nerve had been irritated during the surgery; he said this condition would improve in time.

However, several weeks later, Mr. Doe consulted a hand surgeon. Mr. Doe underwent exploratory surgery with the second surgeon, which revealed that the metal “button” used to anchor Mr. Doe’s tendon to the bone had entrapped the posterior interosseous nerve (PIN). Although the metal button was removed by the second surgeon, Mr. Doe suffered permanent nerve damage. This resulted in permanent pain and numbness as well as a lost function in his right hand. Mr. Doe was an accomplished piano player but is now unable to continue playing.
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