A Pennsylvania medical malpractice jury recently awarded $2 million to a woman for the painful and permanent injuries she suffered as a result of her surgeon’s breach of the standard of care in performing her gallbladder removal surgery. The Pennsylvania medical malpractice jury deliberated for one hour after a three-day trial before awarding the plaintiff $750,000 for her past noneconomic damages and $1.25 million for her future noneconomic damages.
Gallbladder removal surgery is a very common surgery performed to treat symptoms associated with gallstones and other gallbladder diseases. Gallbladder removal surgery may be performed laparoscopically (called laparoscopic cholecystectomy) or by an open, more invasive procedure (called open cholecystectomy). The more common laparoscopic cholecystectomy is performed by using three or four small incisions through which a thin tube called a laparoscope containing a small video camera and surgical tools is inserted. The surgeon views a TV monitor while performing the procedure during which the gallbladder is removed through one of the incisions.
In the Pennsylvania medical malpractice case filed against the surgeon who performed the woman’s gallbladder removal surgery on May 23, 2013, the plaintiff alleged that her bile duct was negligently cut by the defendant surgeon, thereby causing bile to leak into her abdomen and causing injury to her internal organs, including her liver and her biliary system. The serious injury required the plaintiff to undergo further and substantial medical treatment, including two additional surgeries, and she will likely require additional surgery in the future. The plaintiff also alleged that she suffered multiple hernias as a result of the defendant surgeon’s medical negligence that required her to have hernia repair surgery in October 2015.
The plaintiff alleged in her Pennsylvania medical malpractice lawsuit that as a result of her botched gallbladder removal surgery and subsequent hernia repair surgery, she became disabled from working as a nurse’s aid. Her current limitations include not being able to lift in excess of ten pounds.
Approximately 750,000 laparoscopic cholecystectomies are performed in the United States annually. Approximately 90% of all cholecystectomies are laparoscopic. The overall rate of serious complications for laparoscopic cholecystectomies is higher than for open cholecystectomies. The complication rate for open cholecystectomies has increased due to declining experience in performing open cholecystectomies, which are typically used for the most challenging and complicated cases.
Serious complications associated with laparoscopic cholecystectomy include bile duct injury, bile leaks, bleeding, and bowel injury. Some of the factors for serious complications associated with laparoscopic cholecystectomy are patient selection, the inexperience of the surgeon, and the inherent technical constraints associated with the minimally invasive laparoscopic procedure.
Hence, the level of experience and the surgical technique of surgeons who perform cholecystectomies are important considerations for patients who need gallbladder removal surgery, and patients needing such surgery should not hesitate to question their surgeons about their level of experience and their complications rate involving such surgery before agreeing to have the surgeon operate on them.
If you or a loved one had a laparoscopic cholecystectomy or an open cholecystectomy during which an unexpected injury or harm occurred, you should promptly find a medical malpractice lawyer in your U.S. state who may investigate your possible medical malpractice claim for you and represent you or your loved one in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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