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Sommers Schwartz attorney Matthew Turner obtained a confidential $500,000 medical malpractice settlement for the estate of an 81-year-old woman who died from food asphyxiation while ...
  • Surgical Error During Gall Bladder Removal: Wallace v. Ascension Providence Hospital

Sommers Schwartz attorney Robert Sickels filed a surgical malpractice lawsuit on behalf of a woman whose gall bladder removal resulted in damage to her biliary tract, requiring a second surgery that re-routed her intestinal tract, leading to severe weight loss.

According to the complaint, the plaintiff presented to the defendant general surgeon with sharp abdominal pain in her upper right side. Imaging results reportedly came back negative.  The doctor diagnosed cholelithiasis and probable chronic cholecystitis and recommended a laparoscopic cholecystectomy procedure.

A few days after the surgery and discharge from the defendant hospital, the plaintiff returned to the emergency room with severe abdominal pain. Tests showed evidence of a common bile duct injury and a bile leak causing possible peritonitis. The report from an endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) noted that the common bile duct appeared “completely obstructed by surgical clips.” The defendant surgeon then performed a second procedure on the plaintiff, but without consulting a hepatico-biliary specialist.

Upon discharge after the second surgery, the plaintiff experienced abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, was only able to eat small amounts of food, and had frequent periods of constipation. She rapidly lost more than 100 pounds due to malabsorption. The plaintiff then saw a gastroenterologist who diagnosed her with gastro-intestinal reflux disease and gastritis.

The medical malpractice complaint alleges that the defendant doctor breached the standard of care, causing damage to the plaintiff’s common bile duct during her first gall bladder surgery and complications that required her to undergo a subsequent surgical procedure. In turn, the second surgery substantially altered her natural biliary and intestinal anatomy, resulting in gastro-intestinal problems.

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