March 6, 2012
Clay Edwards and Michael Dailey successfully defended a general surgeon in Lexington, Kentucky. Plaintiffs, a surviving brother and son, alleged that the surgeon was negligent in his care by not performing an emergent sigmoid colectomy. The decedent was admitted to the hospital to stabilize her glucose levels, and during her admission she began experiencing stomach pain. A colonic obstruction was suspected and she was treated medically for this condition. One day after the surgeon saw the decedent, she passed away, despite resuscitative efforts. A limited autopsy revealed many anatomical diagnoses, most notably in the gastrointestinal and cardiovascular system. Plaintiffs alleged the surgeon did not establish a suitable treatment plan, and that the delay in surgery was a substantial factor in her death. Edwards and Dailey defended the case by submitting medical proof that the surgeon met the standard of care by treating the condition medically, as emergent surgery was not indicated based on the physical examination and stable vital signs. Defense experts included a colorectal surgeon from Vanderbilt University and a general surgeon from Indianapolis, Indiana. Both experts agreed decedent’s death appeared to be a sudden death with no signs or symptoms of sepsis, which would be expected in a patient declining due to a bowel perforation. The jury unanimously exonerated the surgeon after 30 minutes of deliberation.