Towel Left Inside During Gastric Bypass Surgery
Settlement Amount: $1,100,000.00
Attorney: David A. Kulwicki
Description of Case: A surgical towel had been left inside Plaintiff’s abdomen during an elective gastric bypass surgery. It is the duty of the hospital’s OR personnel to count surgical supplies and instrumentation before, during and after the surgery. The hospital’s employees testified that they conducted their routine surgical count at standard times during the surgery, but nonetheless missed the surgical towel. Despite clear-cut negligence, the official Death Certificate stated that the cause of death was a pulmonary embolism (PE), not the retained towel. In fact, most instances of PE have no known cause. Plaintiff uncovered no evidence that the PE was misdiagnosed or treated improperly. Thus, Defendants contended that the cause of death was not related to the retained towel. This contention was supported by three formidable expert witnesses.
Further, complicating matters, the Plaintiff, due to her religious observations, refused a blood transfusion that would have arguably saved her life. At the time of her final illness and death, Plaintiff was retired. As such, the economic loss in this case was limited to approximately $20,000 in medical expenses associated with her last illness and approximately $4,000 in funeral and burial expenses. With some detailed medical research, B&M lawyer Dave Kulwicki was able to link the pulmonary embolism with the retained towel. Further, Kulwicki used to medical literature to cast doubt on whether the blood transfusion would have even helped. The hospital settled for $1.1 million.
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