Defense Verdict In Westchester County

Elizabeth Cornacchio obtained a defense verdict in Westchester County on September 24, 2008 on behalf of  an obstetrician/gynecologist who performed a laparoscopic procedure to evaluate plaintiff’s complaints of pelvic pain.  During the procedure bleeding was encountered which required conversion to a “mini-laparotomy.”  Subsequently the patient has a small bowel evisceration requiring a second procedure to free the herniated bowel,  and she underwent a third procedure to remove a previously unknown wound seroma capsule,  which was thought to be the result of a hemorrhage after prior surgery.

Plaintiff claimed that our client performed surgery that was not indicated and failed to provide a proper informed consent.

All of the medical witnesses, including the defendant, agreed that the laparoscopy was only indicated if the patient complained of pain;  plaintiff testified she never complained of pain.  While the defendant’s office chart was poorly documented,  the hospital consent form and other admitting documents indicated the procedure was indicated for pelvic pain.  Plaintiff had extensive prior abdominal surgery including a laparoscopic cholecystectomy and appendectomy,  a Roux en Y gastric bypass,  followed by a re-operation to address post procedure hemorrhaging and a panniculectomy   approximately one year after the gastric bypass.

Plaintiff, a 32 year old surgical technician, employed in the same institution as the defendant,  contended that the defendant was negligent in:  1)  performing an unnecessary laparoscopy without an appropriate indication; 2) failing to appreciate that the patient was at high risk to developing complications from the laparoscopy in light of her previous operations and pelvic inflammatory disease and large abdomen; 3) performing the laparoscopy without appropriate surgical technique; failing to be aware of anatomical structures, resulting in a rent in the mesentery of the small bowel with a hematoma; causing and failing to avoid a dehiscence and evisceration; failing to appreciate the significance of the hysterosalpingogram; and failing to obtain plaintiff’s informed consent.  The defendant described multiple in hospital conversations with his patient/co-worker, where she repeatedly made complaints of significant and chronic pelvic pain.

The jury found in defendant’s favor,  determining that the plaintiff did in fact make complaints of pain, and that the defendant was not negligent for performing the laparoscopy.