July 18, 2007
Tracy Prewitt was successful in defending a general surgeon in a medical malpractice action in Bloomington, IN. The case proceeded to trial following a unanimous medical review panel decision against the general surgeon. The Plaintiff alleged that following surgery to remove two portions of his large intestine, the general surgeon delayed surgery to repair a possible leak. Plaintiff developed sepsis, multi-system organ failure and subsequently died following the procedure to repair the leak. Prewitt defended asserting that the general surgeon, who was cross coverage over the weekend for the original surgeon and had no history of care with Plaintiff, diagnosed a potential pulmonary embolism or leak at one of the two surgical sites. Plaintiff’s evidence consisted of two general surgeons, one of which was a member of the medical review panel, who were critical of the delay in taking the Plaintiff back to surgery to repair the leak. Prewitt produced expert testimony from a general surgeon and also a critical care specialist showing that the Defendant surgeon’s actions met the standard of care. The defense further showed that the general surgeon had asked Plaintiff to consent to return to surgery to repair the leak once it was confirmed through gastrograffin enema. The defense showed that Plaintiff elected to wait to proceed to surgery pursuant to the advice of his critical care physician who had advised Plaintiff to attempt treatment with Xigris and further stabilization of his condition. The defense experts further testified that Plaintiff had sustained a leak likely two to three days prior to the Defendant surgeon’s involvement in Plaintiff’s care and that severe sepsis had progressed beyond a point where Plaintiff could have had a reasonable chance of survival. The Plaintiff’s estate and estate of Plaintiff’s widow (who passed away before trial) sought damages for wrongful death, loss of consortium, medical and funeral expenses. The Monroe County, IN jury agreed with the defense and returned a unanimous verdict for the defense.