A 73-year-old man won his Florida medical malpractice lawsuit filed against the defendant hospital for the alleged negligence of a surgeon who allegedly perforated his colon during abdominal surgery and failed to discover the perforation and/or to timely respond to his symptoms that indicated a perforated colon.
The Florida medical malpractice jury trial lasted two weeks and concluded at the end of April 2015. The jury deliberated for seven hours over the period of two days before holding the defendant hospital liable for the alleged negligence of the surgeon and nursing staff, and awarding the plaintiff $2.8 million (other defendants had settled for $450,000).
The man had gone to the emergency room in May 2012, complaining of severe abdominal pain. The hospital’s on-call surgeon determined that the man needed gallbladder surgery that was scheduled to be performed laparoscopically the next day.
The plaintiff’s Florida medical malpractice lawsuit alleged that the surgeon failed to realize that he had inadvertently perforated the man’s colon during the surgery, causing him severe pain that required intravenous pain medication for three days during which he had symptoms of a bowel perforation that was not timely or properly diagnosed.
By the time the man was discharged from the hospital, he was suffering from renal failure, heart damage, and dementia. He endured hospitalizations and inpatient rehab stays over the period of six months during which he had to undergo dialysis. He suffered respiratory failure and required a tracheotomy, and spent months on a ventilator. He also required a pacemaker to be inserted, had to have liver abscesses drained, and required multiple revision surgeries for his ileostomy.
Following the jury’s verdict, the plaintiffs’ lawyers stated, “The surgeon and nursing staff treated his symptoms without sufficiently considering why the symptoms existed. On the third day, the man went into septic shock and was near death when he underwent emergency surgery with a second surgeon, who discovered the colon perforation, removed almost two liters of feces and blood from the abdomen, removed a large segment of the colon and created an ileostomy. The ileostomy cannot be reversed, and the man will pass feces into a bag rather than through the normal physical process for the rest of his life.”
“The defendants tried to prove that the perforation did not complete until the third day after surgery and attempted to blame some of the injuries on a military accident that occurred more than 50 years ago. They also tried to blame the brain injury on a fall from a ladder two weeks before the gallbladder surgery.”
The defendant hospital filed a motion for new trial on May 7, 2015.
Source Schabbel, et al. v. Naples HMA, Case No. 2013-CA-001565.
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