March 22, 2019
Clay Edwards and Katherine Kerns Vesely successfully defended a general surgeon in Jeffersonville, Indiana against allegations of medical malpractice. The plaintiff underwent laparoscopic surgery for an inguinal hernia repair, during which he suffered a retroperitoneal bleed. The surgeon converted the laparoscopic procedure into an open procedure, confirmed that the bleed had stopped, repaired the hernia, and confirmed again that there was no ongoing bleeding before closing the surgical wound. During the post-operative period, the surgeon resuscitated the patient with blood products and fluids and the patient continued to recover as expected for the next five days. On post-operative day 6, the patient suffered a gastrointestinal bleed and expired. The plaintiff alleged that he was not informed of the risks of this surgery preoperatively, that he was not an appropriate candidate for the surgery, that the surgeon negligently performed the surgery, that the patient experienced ongoing bleeding following the surgery, and that but for the bleed encountered during the surgery, the patient would not have expired. The plaintiff sought more than $2 million in damages, including damages for loss of consortium, past medical expenses, and pain and suffering.
Mr. Edwards and Ms. Vesely defended the physician by establishing that that the patient was an appropriate candidate for this surgery and the surgeon acted within the standard of care in her pre-operative consultations with the patient. They also established that the surgeon acted within the standard of care when operating on the plaintiff, when managing the intraoperative bleeding, which was a recognized complication of the surgery, and when managing the patient post-operatively. They established that the patient’s unfortunate death was not caused by any alleged negligence by the physician. The defendant’s care was supported by well-qualified expert testimony and, after a five-day trial, the jury returned a unanimous defense verdict in favor of the surgeon.