Defense Verdict In New York County

Garrett P. Lewis received a defense verdict on behalf of a major metropolitan hospital and a general surgeon in New York County Supreme Court in a wrongful death case.

Plaintiffs claimed that our client should have postponed a colostomy take down surgery in light of a fall in which plaintiff suffered fractures of the 8th and 9th ribs on the left side.  Plaintiffs claimed that a preoperative chest film was misread as being normal wherein the plaintiffs contended that x-ray revealed the presence of a left-sided pneumonia.  Plaintiffs’ argument that the clinical staff failed to consider the potential impact or consequences of broken ribs in causing or contributing to peri-operative complications and that this elective surgery should have been postponed.

We argued that our clients’ management and judgment-making were appropriate and supported both the indication and timing of the surgery.  The defense showed that the fact that the patient had a excoriating stoma site in close proximity to a large mid-abdominal incisional wound which had dehisced.  We contended that the patient, in light of these wounds, was at high risk for developing an infection.  The patient also had preexisting diverticulae disease which required resection as the plaintiff had six months previously suffered a colonic perforation due to rupture of a diverticulae.

Our expert described how these wounds were the probable mechanism for the subsequent development of this infection which mechanism reinforced our client’s preoperative thinking that the surgery was necessary because of such an infection risk and out surgical expert supported the need for this surgery urgently because of the future risk of colon perforation.

After a lengthy trial, the jury returned a defense verdict on behalf of all defendants.