February, 2018

David S. Strite obtained a defense verdict in favor of a general surgeon in Johnson Superior Court (Franklin, Indiana) on February 16, 2018. The medical review panel found unanimously against the defendant.

Pursuant to the patient’s wishes, and in follow up to a possible abnormality from a prior CT scan, the defendant agreed to examine the appendix at the time of a laparoscopic cholecystectomy. The surgeon performed an appendectomy based upon intra-operative findings.

The patient developed a suspected small bowel obstruction approximately one week following the surgery. The defendant returned the patient to surgery for an exploratory laparotomy. The patient
aspirated at the time of anesthesia induction, developed postoperative ARDS and subsequently multi-system organ failure. These injuries proved fatal.

Plaintiff alleged that the defendant improperly performed an incidental appendectomy, that the surgery was not indicated or, alternatively, that the surgery was performed improperly.

The defense introduced testimony from all three medical review panelists each of whom, based upon additional information and further discussion of the care with defense counsel, testified at trial in support of the defense, despite the panel opinion. The defendant also called in support of his case a retained expert, a board-certified academic general surgeon. The defense argued that it was appropriate to evaluate the patient’s appendix, that the appendectomy was indicated and performed appropriately, and that the patient’s death was not caused by medical negligence.

The trial was conducted over five days, after which time a unanimous verdict was returned in favor of the defendant general surgeon.

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