Defense Verdict In Nassau County

Charles L. Bach, Jr. obtained a defense verdict in Nassau County on behalf of a renowned gastroenterologist who had perforated the colon of his then 50-year-old ulcerative colitis patient during a routine screening colonoscopy performed in the office on November 9, 2005.  The perforation was diagnosed later that day and the patient was transferred to a nearby medical center where the co-defendant colorectal surgeon, represented by John Lyddane of Martin Clearwater and Bell, performed a subtotal colectomy before locating the perforation, leaving the rectum in place for a subsequent restorative procedure called a J Pouch Repair.

Plaintiff suffered a number of complications of the colectomy and the J Pouch Repair including erectile dysfunction, an abdominal hernia requiring another surgery and recurrent pouchitis.  He claimed that the quality of his marriage and his life had been severely damaged by the sequence of events that followed the perforation of his colon.  His trial attorney sought $2.2 million from the jury, arguing that both defendants were careless in their alleged failure to save plaintiff’s colon.

At trial, Mr. Bach proved that plaintiff’s ulcerative colitis, although in remission thanks to the extraordinary care of the defendant inflammatory bowel disease specialist, was universal and that plaintiff’s colonic mucosa was also lined with hundreds of pseudopolyps.  During trial, color photos of plaintiff’s mucosal lining taken during various colonoscopies were projected for the jury as the defense witnesses explained how the colonic mucosal was chronically inflamed and lined with inflammatory pseudopolyps throughout plaintiff’s colon.  The defense established that the perforation was a known, accepted complication of a well performed colonoscopy and that once plaintiff’s colon was perforated his entire colon had to be removed because a segmental resection would likely not heal thereby causing future risks of tissue breakdown, further perforation, sepsis and death.

A unanimous jury returned a verdict in favor of both physicians following 2½ hours of deliberations on February 8, 2012.