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  • Surgical and Diagnostic Errors – Delayed Repair of Small Bowel Perforation Following Hysterectomy Procedure: Monroe v. McLaren Macomb, et al.

Sommers Schwartz attorney Matthew Turner filed a medical malpractice action for a woman who suffered a small bowel perforation during a hysterectomy surgery that went undiagnosed and untreated for a number of days, causing unnecessary, life-threatening complications and long-term injury.

On March 1, 2017, the plaintiff underwent a robotic-assisted total laparoscopic hysterectomy performed by the defendant obstetrician-gynecologist and OB-GYN residents. According to the complaint, during the procedure, the small bowel was perforated but the perforation was not detected. Over the next few days, the patient complained of increasing abdominal pain post-operatively along with other symptoms consistent with a bowel perforation, but a general surgery consult was not obtained and a CT scan was not ordered until March 4th.

Despite a general surgical consultation, the CT scan was not performed with oral contrast and the radiologist recognized that “evaluation for bowel injury is limited secondary to lack of IV and oral contrast,” which was the purpose of the study. The perforation continued to go undiagnosed until March 8th. By that time, the patient was profoundly septic and required multiple washouts, an ileostomy, a feeding tube, vacuum-assisted wound closure, and further hospitalizations. She continues to have hernias and needs further surgeries.

The lawsuit claimed a series of errors took place, all of which contributed to her undue pain and suffering. First, the plaintiff alleged she was improperly positioned during surgery and because she couldn’t tolerate the position, the OB-GYN team should have abandoned the laparoscopic procedure and switched to an open procedure. Next, there was a delay in getting a surgical consult and ordering the CT scan of the abdomen.  When the CT scan was finally ordered it was not ordered with oral contrast.  Had the CT scan been ordered when it should have been ordered with oral contrast, the Plaintiff would have been returned to surgery on the evening of March 3rd or the morning of March 4th. The defendants were professionally negligent in unnecessarily delaying diagnoses and treatment of the perforation until March 8th.

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