New Hampshire Trial Lawyers Association Verdicts and Settlement Report

PO Box 447

Concord, NH  03302-0447

 

Case Title:                         Anonymous v. Anonymous                                

 

County:          Rockingham

 

Date of Injury:      09/24/98-10/9/98

 

Liability Facts:

 

This is a medical negligence claim arising out of the defendant’s negligent medical management of the then 11-year old plaintiff.  

 

On June 24, 1998, the plaintiff presented to a local surgical association for consultation and potential surgical treatment of a sub-mucosal lesion and pancreatic rest.  After examining the plaintiff and consulting with the plaintiff’s GI physician but not the plaintiff’s parents, the defendant admitted the plaintiff to a local hospital for laparoscopic excision of pancreatic rest of the distal antrum and omental patch, and endoscopy of the small intestine.  After finding no obvious lesion during abdominal exploration, the defendant continued to dissect the plaintiff’s abdomen, freeing up adhesions, dividing vessels, dividing the Allen’s veil and freeing the stomach to the duodenum.  The defendant then removed a lesion using an Endo-GIA stapler, resected the antrum and conducted an endoscopy, which disclosed a leak, which the defendant sutured endoscopically to achieve satisfactory closure.  The post-operative pathology report disclosed that the defendant had removed a section of stomach with heterotopic pancreatic tissue.  

 

Six days later the plaintiff was taken emergently to the local Hospital after suffering severe epigastric pain, several episodes of vomiting and a syncopal episode.  The plaintiff was vomiting positive guaiac material with blood clots.  The plaintiff was admitted for post-operative gastric outlet obstruction and vasovagal syncope secondary to pain and vomiting.  A Gastrografin swallow revealed significant edema at the area of the antrum and at the pylorus, but no leak.  A CAT scan of the abdomen showed a large mass in the greater omentum between the stomach and the transverse colon and free fluid in the subphrenic and pelvic spaces.  CT guided aspiration of the mass yielded old blood and a diagnosis of intra-abdominal hematoma, requiring a second invasive surgery. 

 

The second defendant, who has been disciplined in the past for improperly performing laparoscopic procedures; performed a laparoscopic drainage of the plaintiff’s peri-pancreatic abscess as well as laparoscopic drainage of subphrenic and pelvic hematomas, all which developed from the first, unnecessary surgery.  More than 800 cc’s of old blood were removed from the plaintiff’s abdomen, as was a large mass near the first operative site underneath the greater omentum, which showed a large abscessed cavity filled with purulent brownish-yellowish material.  While in the hospital, the plaintiff developed pneumonia, an infection, and dehydration, which combined to further delay his recovery.  All of these complications resulted from the defendants’ initial, unnecessary surgery.  The plaintiff spent eleven days in the hospital, suffered through two unnecessary and improperly performed surgeries, and will suffer from ongoing gastrointestinal problems, abdominal pain, and vasovagal symptomology due to surgical insult to the vagus nerve for the remainder of his life.

 

Plaintiff: 1)  Sex  M         Age   11_  

 

Plaintiff's Theory of Liability:

 

The defendants negligently performed an unnecessary surgery on a pediatric patient, without ever engaging the services of a pediatric surgeon to consult or assist on the case.  The unnecessary surgery resulted in significant complications including an insult to the vagus nerve and a second surgery, which resulted in a permanent pseudocyst in the GI tract and division of the pancreatic duct.  These resulting conditions have caused permanent epigastric distress, gastrointestinal and vasovagal disorders, which will impact the plaintiff for the remainder of his life. 

 

The plaintiff brought suit against the defendant surgeons for their negligence and against the surgical association for its vicarious liability.  The plaintiff’s parents brought suit for the extraordinary and unnecessary medical expenses they incurred on their son’s behalf.

 

Defendant’s Theory of Defense:

 

The defendants denied negligence.

 

Injuries (Diagnosis/Prognosis/Permanency):

 

The plaintiff has suffered from extremely aggravating and painful abdominal and gastrointestinal problems for more than six years due to the defendants’ unnecessary surgery and he is likely to suffer from these aggravating GI problems for the remainder of his life.  The plaintiff requires daily GI medications and pain medications to deal with his ongoing conditions.  The plaintiff’s abdominal problems also seriously diminished his academic career and quality of life during his most formative years due to excessive absences, tardies, and dismissals from school.  These extended absences caused the plaintiff’s academic performance to be far below his potential, requiring him to get a special needs academic plan enacted through the school system for his course work and requiring him to undergo educational testing and tutoring to remain on par with his peers.  The pain and suffering are exacerbated by the plaintiff’s loss of social and academic interaction in his pre-teen and teenage years.  It is likely that the plaintiff will suffer from gastrointestinal problems and migraines for years to come, all of which have been caused by complications from the original unnecessary abdominal surgery in October 1998.  These unnecessary surgeries caused the plaintiff a loss of enjoyment of life and the loss of the opportunity for a better outcome.  

 

 

Specials:  

 

Total Medical Specials $101,947.79

 

 

Verdict/Settlement:   

  

The parties reached an agreement to settle for a confidential amount.

 

 

Counsel:

 

For the Plaintiff: Mark A. Abramson, Esquire and Holly B. Haines, Esquire