Client, a 71-year-old retired but active male required gallbladder surgery and underwent a two and a half hour laparoscopic surgery. Within twelve hours of the surgery having been completed, client began experiencing excruciating abdominal pain and distention. Client also experienced dangerously high blood pressure and a significantly increased respiration rate. The attending nurse summoned the hospital’s rapid response team to client’s bedside to take and monitor client’s significantly abnormal vital signs. Labs revealed the presence of a high neutrophils level (neutrophils are immature white cells produced by the immune system in response to infection. All of the above signs and symptoms are commonly associated with bowel perforation and sepsis. Client’s sepsis progressed to a severe stage and resulted in client experiencing gangrene in his toes and in several finger tips. All of these gangrenous structures required amputation.
Dempsey and Kingsland Action
We deposed the defendant surgeon who admitted that a patient who undergoes a laparoscopic surgery should normally expect a steady and rapid recovery and that such patients normally are discharged within twenty-four hours. The defendant also conceded that whenever a patient significantly deteriorates following a gallbladder surgery, bowel perforation and sepsis should be included in the differential diagnosis. Defendant contended numerous alternative diagnoses could account client’s signs and symptoms. Nevertheless, Defendant conceded that time was of the essence in treating bowel perforation and sepsis.