Back in February 2011, I wrote about a Missouri medical malpractice case my law-firm was handling that resulted in the death of a St Louis area man after surgical misadventures by the doctor during a routine gallbladder removal surgery, often referred to as lap-choli procedure, See, Surgeon Negligent During Lap-Choli Procedure leading to St Louis County Wrongful Death Lawsuit
After 2 years of litigation that same case was recently settled for $1.5 million against the surgeon and the hospital he was employed by. Most lap-choli malpractice cases are a result of the surgeon choosing not to be careful enough to positively identify the anatomy before deciding what to cut and clip off. See, Understanding the Critical View of Safety. Also see law article: MUST KNOWS to successfully pursue a Negligent Gallbladder Operation Lawsuit in Missouri: #1: KNOW THE ANATOMY This case was no different, the surgeon got lost and did not properly identify the anatomy, which led to cutting and clipping of the wrong ducts and arteries that led to a cascade of events which sadly and tragically caused the patient to slowly die over 4 months.
Understanding the basics of any surgery is fundamental to successfully pursuing a medical negligence case. Int he case we simple enforced the medical safety rule, "A surgeon must positively identify the anatomy before cutting it" choosing to cut or proceed without positive and confident identification is a violation of that basic patient safety rule. Surgeons are not allowed to guess or take unnecessary risks. In emergency situations where it is a situation of "take a guess or more potential harm than good could be done", then I agree it is acceptable for the surgeon to take an educated guess. But not in a non-emergency and controlled situation.
When a surgeon finds himself unsure of the anatomy, he must take a step back and reassess, if he is still unsure he needs to take additional steps; such as an intra-operative chol-angiogram. If still unsure, another surgeon or doctor need to be called in. See article: MUST KNOWS for Missouri Lap-Choli Medical Malpractice Cases: #2 INTRAOPERATIVE CHOLANGIOGRAM!! Identifying the anatomy is required for patient safety and is a rule of any surgery. It seems like common sense, however, some doctors, after doing the procedure hundreds of times, start to assume they are probably right and proceed under that assumption instead of choosing to be as careful as practical.
Currently our law office is handling several gall bladder surgery negligence cases in Missouri and southern Illinois. Each and every one of the cases carry a common theme, the doctor cut the wrong duct or artery, or the doctor put a surgical clip in the wrong duct or artery causing a blockage. These injuries can prevent blood flow to critical organs, particularly the liver, they can also cause bile to leak into the body causing severe infections and follow up surgeries to place stents, repair arteries, and clean up the infection.
If you, a friend, or family member have been hurt by a careless doctor or hospital staff, call the St Louis medical malpractice law firm of Sansone / Lauber today for a free consultation about your case. Call us at (314) 863-0500.