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Medical Verdicts

Woman dies after laparotomy

September 2005 · Vol. 17, No. 9

<court>Cook County (Ill) District Court</court>

A 66-year-old woman underwent an open laparotomy for removal of a uterine fibroid after an unsuccessful laparoscopic procedure. Postoperative infection, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), bowel perforation, and abscess developed. Despite surgical exploration and repair 2 weeks after the initial surgery, the woman died a month after the repair.

In suing, the family claimed that the defendants failed to diagnose and treat the perforated bowel in a timely manner and failed to order a STAT CT scan and surgical consult. The defense contended that a STAT CT scan and surgical consult were not indicated on admission to the ICU 3 days after the original surgery and that the CT done 3 days later with aspiration and drainage was appropriate for the ARDS diagnosis.

  • The jury returned a defense verdict.

The cases in this column are selected by the editors of OBG Management from Medical Malpractice Verdicts, Settlements & Experts, with permission of the editor, Lewis Laska, of Nashville, Tenn ( While there are instances when the available information is incomplete, these cases represent the types of clinical situations that typically result in litigation.

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