On February 1, 2016, a Baltimore medical malpractice jury returned its verdict in favor of a first-grade teacher in the amount of $859,990.01 for the harm she suffered as a result of her colon being perforated by her OB/GYN during a laparoscopic hysterectomy that he performed on July 9, 2010. The laparoscopic hysterectomy was intended to treat the plaintiff’s excessive vaginal bleeding and pre-cancerous ovarian cysts.
It was expected that the woman would be discharged from the hospital the day after her surgery but she remained an extra day because she was unable to urinate or pass gas on the day she was originally scheduled to be discharged from the hospital. Nonetheless, she was discharged on the second day following her surgery, despite having not passed gas or urine by the time she was discharged.
When the plaintiff attempted to eat solid food for the first time at home, she immediately vomited and experienced abdominal pain that kept her from sleeping that night. She saw her OB/GYN the next morning, who re-admitted her to the hospital.
For several days while she was in the hospital, the woman was unable to pass gas and she had a fever, for which she was given antibiotics. On the eighth day in the hospital, the woman was transferred to the ICU due to shortness of breath and tachycardia. She had exploratory abdominal surgery during which a one-centimeter perforation was found in her colon as well as several abscesses. The surgery required that she have a colostomy bag until she had a colostomy reversal eight months later. The woman had to endure five abdominal washout procedures and was hospitalized for forty days.
The defense argued during the Baltimore medical malpractice trial that the plaintiff’s perforated colon was due to a sudden rupture of a diverticulum. The plaintiff’s medical expert testified during trial that the plaintiff did not have diverticulitis and that a diverticulum had not ruptured. The plaintiff’s expert testified that the plaintiff’s colon perforation most likely occurred within the 24-hour period following her hysterectomy.
The plaintiff’s OB/GYN expert testified during trial that it was most likely the harmonic scalpel that was used during the laparoscopic hysterectomy that cut the woman’s colon, and that it would be a breach of the standard of care for any surgical tool to cut the colon during a routine hysterectomy. The defendant OB/GYN testified during trial that he had inspected the woman’s colon at the time he completed the surgery and that there was no evidence of damage to her colon at that time.
The plaintiff claimed in her Baltimore medical malpractice lawsuit that she sustained $34,000 in lost wages from her teaching job and that she incurred approximately $200,000 in economic damages.
Brenda Fleming v. Joel F. Pleeter, M.D., et al., Circuit Court for Baltimore City, Case No. 24C14006320.
If you or a loved one suffered serious injury (or worse) as a result of medical malpractice in Baltimore or elsewhere in Maryland, you should promptly find a Baltimore medical malpractice lawyer (Maryland medical malpractice lawyer) who may investigate your medical malpractice claim for you and represent you in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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