Bowel Perforation Case Settled for $2.6 Million
A 51-year-old woman who went into the hospital for routine surgery has settled a medical negligence claim filed in the Circuit Court of Will County for $2,600,000. An order of dismissal pursuant to the settlement was entered by the Honorable Michael Powers in January 2012.
The patient underwent elective surgery at Provena St. Joseph Medical Center to remove her left ovary. The surgery was performed in October 2006 by an obstetrician-gynecologist. The surgery was scheduled to be performed laparoscopically, however, the case was converted to an open one due to dense adhesions.
During the procedure, the standard of care required that the bowel be run prior to closing the incision site to ensure that the bowel was not injured during the surgery. Running the bowel is a complete visual inspection of the bowel using a hand-over-hand technique. However, the bowel was not run during the procedure.
For the next few weeks, the Plaintiff suffered significant abdominal pain, distension, tenderness, roundness, and firmness of her abdomen. She also suffered a heart attack and a left shift due to bandemia on blood analysis. A perforated sigmoid colon was identified. Multiple healthcare providers, both physicians and nurses, were involved in her care during the week following her surgery, but the diagnosis of perforation was not made and acted upon in a timely fashion.
What should have been a hospital stay of a couple days turned into a hospital admission of over one month. She left the hospital with a colostomy bag in place (reversed later) and an open wound. She had numerous debridement procedures where infectious areas were lanced prior to her discharge. She also had an extensive wound infection which required a wound vac and was very painful and odorous. She also left the hospital with abdominal disfigurement, a result of the delay in diagnosis.
After her discharge, she was transferred to a specialty hospital where she was taught about wound and colostomy care. She finally returned home almost two months after her original surgery. At home, she received home health nursing care for almost another year. She underwent additional admissions related to the infectious result of the colon perforation and required additional hospitalizations. She has had multiple abdominal surgeries, has scarring throughout her abdomen, and has experienced significant asymmetrical bulging and other disfigurement to her abdomen.
The Plaintiff was represented by Joseph W. Balesteri of Power Rogers & Smith, L.L.P. Mr. Balesteri indicated that the settlement compensates for pain and suffering, disfigurement, and for loss of her normal life.