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    Patient sues after stapler misfire leads to rectal tear

    Patient alleges urologist was unable to distinguish prostate from rectum, resulting in tear

     

    Sepsis after urologic surgery

    A 47-year-old Massachusetts man underwent surgery performed by his urologist. He developed a postoperative infection that caused megacolon, which resulted in sepsis and ultimately his death.

    Read: How patient obesity can impact malpractice litigation

    A lawsuit was filed against the urologist on behalf of the patient’s estate and alleged the urologist allowed the infection to spread as a result of continuing to administer prophylactic antibiotics in excess of the recognized 24-hour window, which delayed the diagnosis of infection and sepsis.

    The urologist denied liability and disputed that anything he did or did not do caused the infection, and said that the infection was fatal despite any delay in diagnosis.

    The parties agreed to a $2.5 million confidential settlement prior to trial.

    Rectal wall punctured during penile implant surgery

    A 60-year-old Arkansas man underwent a second penile implant surgery in 2008. He had had erectile dysfunction since his early 40s, and his first implant had become infected. The previous implant was removed and the second one inserted.

    Prior to discharge from the hospital, the patient had a bowel movement and noticed blood. He was examined by a resident, who documented that the blood appeared to come from his scrotum. The patient went to his postoperative visit with complaints of pain, and the urologist performed a urethroscopy and discovered infection and erosion of the tissue. The urologist removed the penile implant and found part of the implant in the patient’s rectum.

    He then underwent a debridement to remove the necrotizing flesh from his penis and address the scar tissue that had developed. Due to the scar tissue, he cannot have another implant and has permanent erectile dysfunction.

    Also see: Top 5 malpractice articles of 2016

    The patient sued the urologist and alleged he was negligent in puncturing the rectal wall during the second implant operation, and negligent for not detecting the perforation immediately post-op. He alleged the bleeding was from the punctured rectal wall and could have been detected by performing a rectal exam, which would have changed the course of the patient’s outcome.

    The physician argued that the implant was complicated due to the patient’s excessive scar tissue and that nothing happened in the operation to make him believe that he perforated the rectal wall. He claimed that performing a digital rectal exam would have been extremely painful for the patient. The jury found for the patient and awarded $400,000 in damages.

    More "Malpractice Consult" articles:

    How spoliation of evidence can cost you in court

    Did on-call’s refusal to provide consult lead to loss of testicle?

    Offensive disclosure and defensive medicine: What you need to know


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    Dawn Collins, JD
    MS COLLINS is an attorney specializing in medical malpractice in Long Beach, California. She welcomes feedback on this column via ...

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