Chad J. Bradford and Sarah N. Vrabel obtained a defense verdict in favor of a general surgeon in Madison County Circuit Court (Anderson, Indiana) on April 25, 2022.
The patient presented to the hospital with apparent small bowel obstruction versus ileus and was managed conservatively for three days. The defendant general surgeon assumed care of the patient on the fourth day and, finding clear clinical improvement, continued conservative management. Despite the improving clinical picture, the patient decompensated in the early morning hours of the fifth day and the defendant surgeon took the patient for emergency surgery. The patient survived the ordeal and was released after a lengthy hospital stay, including a forefoot amputation.
The case was presented to a medical review panel that returned a split opinion. The patient passed away from unrelated issues prior to trial and his representative pursed the case alleging that all defendants should have proceeded to surgery earlier, which would have avoided the need for both the amputation and prolonged hospitalization. Plaintiff produced expert testimony from a general surgeon from the Louisville area and argued that the patient’s condition worsened or failed to improve over the course of the hospital stay. Plaintiff also presented testimony from a general surgeon who served on the medical review panel.
The defense called other members of the medical review panel as well as a board-certified general surgeon from Columbus, Ohio. The defense argued that the care and treatment provided by the general surgeon was reasonable and appropriate given the evidence indicating the patient’s clinical improvement when the general surgeon consulted on the fourth day and the fact that it would have therefore been unreasonable to proceed to surgery on such date given the patient’s clinical progress.
The trial was conducted over five days, after which time a unanimous verdict was returned in favor of the defendant.