FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 24, 2014

Contact: Eric W. Boyer, Esq.
Managing Partner/Operations
305-670-1101 Ext. 1023
Email: eboyer@qpwblaw.com

 

QPWB RECEIVES DEFENSE VERDICT FOR PHYSICIANS IN WRONGFUL DEATH ACTION

 

Medical Malpractice Defense / Wrongful Death Action

Monty Warren

SEBRING, Fla. ― Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, P.A. trial attorney Monty R. Warren (mwarren@qpwblaw.com), managing partner of the West Palm Beach office, received a defense verdict on behalf of a surgeon and anesthesiologist in a wrongful death action on allegations of surgical negligence involving laparoscopic removal of a gallbladder.

The case concerned the perioperative death of a 67 year old man with Child’s Class C cirrhosis and an underlying cardiac condition who suffered multisystem organ failure and ARDS after undergoing laparoscopic surgery for what was asserted to be asymptomatic gallstones. His cardiologist had documented prior to the procedure that he intended to recommend a pacemaker and/or a cardiac catheterization. The patient arrested within two minutes of insufflation during the procedure and before the surgeon removed the gallbladder. The patient bled post-operatively, became unstable and ultimately died after the surgeon emergently returned him to the operating room to locate the source of the bleeding.

The defendant, the surgeon performing the surgery, admittedly did not obtain formal cardiac clearance neither from the patient’s cardiologist or formal clearance from the primary care physician.  The co-defendant anesthesiologist defended himself in part by asserting that the surgeon had assured him that he would be speaking directly to the patient’s cardiologist prior to commencing surgery.

During the trial, the defense proved that the patient’s death was due to an unpreventable CO2 embolism having nothing to do with the patient’s coronary condition and would have occurred notwithstanding any formal cardiac clearance.  The death was not the result of surgical negligence.  The defense also established that the patient’s gastroenterologist also had referred him to obtain a liver biopsy that was essential for his diagnosis and treatment and, since the patient refused to consent to the biopsy unless it was performed laparoscopically, the CO2 used to obtain the biopsy would have produced the same outcome, even had the surgeon refused to perform the gallbladder procedure.

The jury returned a defense verdict on behalf of both doctors within an hour and 10 minutes. Post-verdict, the plaintiff agreed to waive the right to appeal in exchange for defendants’ agreement to waive significant attorney’s fee claim due to a previously rejected nominal Proposal for Settlement.

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