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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 (www.verdictslaska.com). 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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