September 26, 2003
A Jefferson County jury found in favor of a Louisville surgeon after a patient died of complications following a gastric bypass. Ten days after the bypass, the man returned to the hospital via ambulance from his hometown of London, Kentucky, after doctors there recommended the Louisville surgeon take prompt surgical intervention. Upon arrival, the patient seemed in steady condition, and the surgery was scheduled for the next morning. During the surgery, however, significant leakage and sepsis were discovered, and the patient died three days later. The Plaintiff alleged negligence on the patient’s return to the hospital, surmising that (1) the doctors should have been more vigilant for symptoms of a leak, given that a small leak occurred in the process of the first surgery, and (2) the ill-advised delay of the repair surgery allowed the sepsis to develop into fatal form. The doctor, represented by Donald Brown, counter-argued that (1) the man should have reported the abdominal pain immediately, instead of waiting a few days, (2) the delay of the second surgery was proper because the patient was too dehydrated, and (3) the sepsis was so far advanced that the patient was doomed upon admittance. The Plaintiff was awarded none of the asked-for 4.7 million dollars.