Articles Posted in Surgical Errors

Ms. Doe, 52, underwent popliteal peroneal artery bypass grafting surgery. She required four additional surgeries after this procedure, including replacement of her inflow and outflow grafts, a fasciotomy to relieve compartment syndrome and resection of necrotic muscle in her lower extremity.

Almost five weeks after the first surgery, Doe suffered a stroke. This led to her death the following day. Doe had been a human resource director earning approximately $100,000 per year. She was survived by her two adult children.

The lawsuit claimed that the outflow target vessel for the first surgery was negligently selected. This led to extremity ischemia, the need for additional surgery, the development of compartment syndrome and failure of the graft.
Continue reading

Leslie Pederson, 40, underwent a laparoscopic ovarian cystectomy that was done by a gynecologist affiliated with Buffalo Clinic, P.A. During this procedure, the doctor reinserted the trocar without using a camera for direct visualization.

As a result, Pederson suffered a 5-mm laceration to her right common iliac artery that required an emergency laparotomy.
As manager for a transportation company, she missed several months from her job and was later fired. She had lost income of $47,000. Pederson went back to school to train for a different job and profession.

Pederson and her husband filed a lawsuit against Buffalo Clinic claiming that it was liable for the doctor’s negligence for reinserting the trocar without a camera. A trocar is a surgical device usually made out of metal or plastic and sharpened at its end. Trocars are mostly used in laparoscopic surgery. The instrument has a sharp-pointed end with a cannula used to insert the cannula into the body cavity as a drainage device. It’s used to withdraw fluid from the surgical area.
Continue reading

On Oct. 5, 2012, the defendant in this case, Dr. Yasser Alhaj-Hussein, completed a celiac plexus block procedure designed to lessen or alleviate the pain that Kathy Arient was experiencing in her abdominal area. The procedure was done at Orland Park Medical Center and involved alcohol inserted into the spine to destroy select nerves.

Following the procedure, Arient complained of numbness in her legs and was taken by ambulance to St. Joseph’s Hospital. It was there that it was determined that she had been rendered paraplegic. Arient and her husband, Terry Arient, filed a lawsuit against Dr. Hussein and other defendants alleging medical negligence in performing the celiac block. The suit also included a claim for loss of consortium.

Unfortunately, Arient died on June 9, 2014. The lawsuit was amended to include a wrongful-death and survival action against both Dr. Hussein and Illinois Anesthesia and Pain Associates and Orland Park Surgical Center. Orland Park Surgical moved to be dismissed as a defendant; the trial judge agreed.
Continue reading

In a confidential report of this case, Doe, age 55, underwent a laparoscopic cholecystectomy performed by a surgeon and partner. During the procedure, the surgeon was concerned that one of the trocars used could have perforated the patient’s small bowel. A trocar is a medical device used in surgery and placed through the abdomen during laparoscopic surgery.

The surgeon told his associates, including his partner, that if the patient developed complications after her discharge, the diagnosis of a perforated small bowel should be considered.

The patient later called the surgical group advising them that she was experiencing persistent vomiting and severe pain. The surgeon advised her to go to the emergency room. There the patient reported severe abdominal pain. Testing revealed an elevated white count, and a CT scan showed extensive free air and fluid in her naval area. At the hospital, a radiologist diagnosed a possible perforation related to the recent surgery, a small bowel obstruction and an abdominal abscess.
Continue reading

Carson Sofro, 33, was diagnosed with having a malignant tumor in his colon. He underwent a resection performed by a colorectal surgeon, Dr. Benjamin Karsten at St. Luke’s Regional Medical Center. After removing the tumor, Dr. Karsten connected the colon and small bowel.

Sofro suffered a variety of symptoms after the surgery, including pain, vomiting and bloating. He sought treatment at St. Luke’s and was told that his symptoms were a normal complication of the surgery. Sofro continued to experience these symptoms for more than two years before being diagnosed as having a 360-degree twist in his small bowel. That condition required another resection, causing him to miss one month of work from his job as the owner of a basketball camp.

Sofro filed a lawsuit against St. Luke’s Regional Medical Center alleging liability by Dr. Karsten choosing not to ensure that the small bowel was not twisted before creating the anastomosis. There was a claim of lost income of $15,000. Anastomosis is a surgical procedure connecting adjacent blood vessels, parts of the intestine or other channels of the body.
Continue reading

Matthew Hipps, 44, was to undergo abdominal surgery, which required stenting of his urethra. He consented to having the catherization done by the head of the urology department at Virginia Mason Medical Center. While in the midst of the catherization, a urology fellow placed a tube inside Hipps’s urethra, which met with resistance. The fellow then used a hemostat to open the tip of Hipps’s penis before placing the catheter inside the urethra. A hemostat, which is also called a hemostatic clamp, is a surgical tool most often used to control bleeding.

As a result of the forced opening of the urethra, Hipps suffered a tear and developed scarring inside his urethra. He now suffers discomfort when engaging in intercourse and has difficulty urinating.

Hipps sued the hospital alleging that the fellow negligently used the hemostat during the procedure and improperly dilated the urethra. The lawsuit did not include lost income.
Continue reading

In this medical malpractice lawsuit, injuries were suffered by the plaintiff, Lisa Swift, during a 2010 laparoscopic hysterectomy by the defendant Dr. David J. Schleicher. During this surgical procedure, Dr. Schleicher perforated Swift’s small bowel with three through-and-through holes. The doctor chose not to diagnose the perforations until four days after the surgery. Swift developed sepsis, needed a bowel resection surgery and then suffered additional complications that required hospitalization and home health care.

In addition to Dr. Schleicher, Swedish American Health System Corp. and its related companies were also made defendants. These defendants admitted that they caused the injury but argued that the injuries were not the result of negligence. At the end of the jury trial, the jury agreed with defendants and found in favor of them and against Swift.

The plaintiff Swift filed a motion for a new trial, which was denied by the trial court. As a result, Swift took an appeal arguing that the trial judge committed reversible error by (1) allowing evidence that plaintiff’s expert, Dr. Robert Dein, caused a bowel injury in 1989; (2) allowed cumulative defense testimony; and (3) declined to find the verdict against the manifest weight of the evidence.
Continue reading

Lynne Niemynski, 63, suffered from stress incontinence. She saw Dr. Arthur Thorpe Jr. a gynecologist, who recommended a transobturator urethral sling to improve her condition. She underwent this procedure.

However, for the next nine months, she complained of worsening symptoms, including bladder spasms, discharge and bleeding. Even with application of creams and other medications, her symptoms continued on.

Niemynski finally met with another gynecologist who examined her bladder and discovered a section of surgical mesh that had golf-ball sized crystalline stone growing from it.
Continue reading

James P. McKillip underwent a sleeve gastrectomy for weight reduction at a hospital in Rock Island, Ill. This took place in January 2012 by the defendant general surgeon, Dr. James Schrier. McKillip was 46 years old at the time.

According to the report of this jury trial, McKillip’s expert testified at trial that Dr. Schrier improperly stapled the nasogastric tube into McKillip’s stomach and also was negligent in creating a hole at the junction between the esophagus and his stomach.

As a result, McKillip suffered from two large perforations and gastric leaks at these two sites in the stomach, which caused him to develop sepsis and undergo three months of antibiotic therapy. Eventually he will require additional surgery to remove the remaining portion of his stomach.
Continue reading

Ezekiel Flores, 89, was admitted to MacNeal Hospital in Berwyn, Ill., in January 2013 for complaints of leg pain. While he was there, an abdominal CT scan came back with abnormal results, which led the doctors to suspect possible colon cancer over diverticulitis.

The defendant gastroenterologist, Dr. Manuel Alva, did a colonoscopy on Jan. 11, 2013. It showed there was no cancer. However, during the procedure Flores sustained a perforated colon, which led to nearly fatal sepsis, a colostomy for eleven months and later a colonostomy reversal surgery in combination totaled medical expenses of $201,950.

Flores maintained at this jury trial that he refused to undergo the colonoscopy several times but the defendants, the physicians, persisted and persuaded him to do so without fully disclosing the risks and alternatives and thus choosing not to obtain Flores’s informed consent.
Continue reading