Defense Verdict in Kings County

On May 16, 2012, Raphael J. Berman obtained a defense verdict in Brooklyn on behalf of a general surgeon and a major metropolitan hospital center in a case in which the plaintiff experienced complications from two separate abdominal surgeries. 

Seeking damages of $6 million, plaintiff claimed that the surgeon improperly transected the cystic duct during a laparoscopic cholecystectomy.  This, plaintiff claimed, led to a bile leak, requiring  an endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) to treat the leak.  Plaintiff further alleged that the surgeon negligently perforated the duodenum during the ERCP, leading to emergency intestinal surgery, prolonged hospitalizations, recurrent surgery, continued and permanent gastrointestinal difficulties as well as permanent scarring and abdominal disfigurement.

Mr. Berman established that the initial surgery was properly performed the surgery and that the bile leak was caused by post-operative loosening of surgical clips, creating pressure on the bile and cystic ducts.  He argued to the jury that this is a known complication of the surgery that occurs even in the absence of malpractice. 

The defense also showed that the bile leak was timely diagnosed and that the ERCP was then timely and appropriately performed.  The duodenum was perforated because the endoscope had to be placed blindly thru the duodenum.   Mr. Berman argued that this type of perforation is a known complication and did not constitute medical malpractice

The jury exonerated all defendants in a unanimous verdict after less than 30 minutes of deliberations.