Sommers and Schwartz attorneys Dina Zalewski and Muskan Ali negotiated a $500,000 settlement for a 24-year-old woman who suffered a bowel perforation during outpatient surgery to remove her appendix.
The patient was diagnosed with acute appendicitis following an outpatient CT scan. She was admitted to the hospital and underwent a laparoscopic appendectomy. No complications were noted during the procedure. However, the surgeon failed to properly inspect the surrounding area; had he done so, he would have discovered that he had perforated the woman’s bowel.
In the days following surgery, the woman complained of nausea, vomiting, discomfort in her upper back, shortness of breath, and pain. She became tachycardic and bloated. Nevertheless, the surgeon elected to manage her care conservatively; he did not order additional testing or refer the woman to a specialist.
On the fifth day following her surgery, the patient’s condition worsened. She underwent an emergency laparotomy, revealing a perforation to the small bowel near the appendectomy site and peritonitis.
The woman remained in the hospital for nearly three weeks, undergoing multiple additional surgeries and courses of antibiotics. After she was discharged, she required home health care assistance.
Subsequently, the woman developed an incisional hernia, which caused serious pain in her lower abdomen. She had surgery to repair the incisional hernia and rebuild her abdominal wall. Her recovery from this surgery involved significant pain, suffering, and mental trauma.
The defendants’ delay in properly identifying and treating the perforation caused by the original surgery led to infection, additional hospitalization, unnecessary procedures, multiple surgeries, and continued complications.
The woman missed months of work and exhausted her short-term disability due to her injuries. She lost 80% of her hair and suffered extensive mental anguish. She can no longer participate in many physical activities she once enjoyed and is concerned about whether she can successfully carry a pregnancy to term. She may also need additional surgeries. Overall, the experience has dramatically reduced her quality of life.
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