Bladder Perforation Lawsuit Results in $15M Jury Verdict
Surgical mistakes do happen and in many cases, they are not necessarily the fault of the doctor. When a mistake occurs the doctor is expected to fix the mistake prior to closing the patient up. When they do, there is no cause of action for medical malpractice. When they fail, however, there is.
In this case, a surgeon was accused of perforating the patient’s bladder while performing a surgery known as a transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP). According to the lawsuit, the patient suffered an intra-abdominal bladder perforation or a cut to the bladder. This resulted in fluids leaking into the peritoneum. After the completion of the TURP, the patient suffered significant abdominal distension. A drainage tube was placed in the abdomen to remove some of the fluid. However, the doctor never sewed up the bladder perforation. No attempt was made to fix the bladder.
The patient was then admitted to the ICU. Over the next 24 hours, the patient developed hypoxic respiratory failure, metabolic acidosis, and septic shock. By the end of that day, the patient would be declared dead.
Elements of negligence
The family filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the doctor and a Georgia jury found that the defendant doctor was negligent in his performance of the surgery. They claim that he failed to perform an intraoperative cystogram which would have revealed the bladder perforation. They also faulted the doctor for failing to repair the bladder perforation on the patient when it was obvious that fluid was leaking from the bladder into the peritoneum. They claim that the patient suffered severe personal injury as a result of those failures and his death was the proximate cause of medical malpractice committed by the doctor.
In this case, the doctor could have avoided a medical malpractice lawsuit if he checked the patient’s bladder after the surgery. This would have revealed a large perforation that was caused as a result of the surgery. Upon realizing that the bladder was perforated, the doctor should have sutured the perforation to prevent bladder fluid from leaking into other parts of the body.
The patient suffered severe physical pain as a result of the mistake and eventually died. The family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the doctor and was awarded $15 million as a result of the mishap.
In the case mentioned above, the surgical mistake was not the focus of the medical malpractice claim. The focus was the failure to diagnose the bladder perforation when the patient was still in surgery. The plaintiff was severely injured as a result of the doctor’s failure to diagnose that complication even after removing bladder fluid from the patient’s perineum.
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