Bowel perforation after
ADHESIONS AND INTRAOPERATIVE BLEEDING complicated laparoscopic oophorectomy in October 2007. The 46-year-old patient was hospitalized overnight for observation and then released. Later that day, she developed abdominal pain and returned to the emergency department (ED). When a CT scan revealed a bowel perforation, emergency surgery included an ileostomy. In March 2008, the ileostomy was reversed. In June 2009, she had surgical reconstruction of her abdominal wall due to excessive scarring, and, in July 2010, underwent surgical hernia repair. She also required 24 months’ treatment to resolve bowel obstructions. She continues to have irregular bowel function and abdominal discomfort that requires pain medication.
PATIENT’S CLAIM The gynecologist did not properly perform surgery or manage postoperative care. The perforation was due to an inability to visualize the entire operative field; laparoscopy should have been converted to an open procedure. The gynecologist failed to instruct the nurses and residents regarding the symptoms that would necessitate intervention.
DEFENDANTS’ DEFENSE Conversion to an open procedure was unnecessary. The residents and nurses were properly instructed. The hospital claimed that the staff did not detect any deterioration in the plaintiff’s condition, and properly followed the gynecologist’s instructions.
VERDICT A $624,309 New York verdict was returned against the hospital. The jury found negligence but determined that the physician’s negligence was not the cause of the