(Please note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this medical malpractice/personal injury case and its proceedings.)
As discussed above, the type of injuries suffered by plaintiff do not occur in the absence of negligence. It is undisputed, even by defendants own experts that one, some, or all, of the defendants caused plaintiff’s injuries. Dr. Stanley Kim, who was retained by Dr. Green testified at deposition:
Q: So more probable than not that an instrumentality under the exclusive control of Dr. Green, Dr. Smith, Dr. Lee or Dr. Stuart caused the injury to the bifurcation of the aorta, correct?
Dr. Green’s placement of the first trocar or Veres needle during the initial surgery caused multiple vascular injuries, including a laceration to the left iliac vein, a laceration to the mesentery and small bowel. Dr. Green was below the standard of care in causing these injuries.
Dr. Kim, Dr. Green’s retained expert, testified these injuries are not suppose to happen.
Q: you’re not suppose to injure the vein, are you?
Q: You’re not suppose to injure the mesentery, correct?
A: No. That’s not the intent of the operation.
Q: And you’re not suppose to injure the bowel correct?
A: That’s correct.
The same response was given for the injuries to the mesentery and the bowel.
Dr. Kim confirmed these injuries were caused by Dr. Greenu’s placement ent of the trocar
Q: Tell me how the vein injury was caused.
A: Most likely be the insertion of the trocar.
Further, it was Dr. Green’s and Dr. Smith’s duty to discover all areas of injury during the first exploratory surgery.
Q: Whose responsibility was it to determine the sources of the bleeding?
A: I believe the vascular surgeon would do that. That would be his responsibility.
Q: Am I correct then that once Dr. Green finished the cholecystectomy despite that fact that he may be responsible for causing the injuries it became Dr. Smith’s obligation to identify any source of injuries?
Defendant Dr. Green, whose acts of negligence caused the need for the second surgery, is vicariously liable for the subsequent acts of other negligent health care professionals, including the injury to the abdominal aorta. (C.A.C.I § 3929.) He is separately negligent when he failed to identify these injuries during the surgeries on the 16th, 24th or 26th if he caused the injury to the aorta. Dr. Green’s failure to discover and repair these lacerations was below the standard of care and was a substantial factor in injuring plaintiff. (See Part 7 of 8.)
For more information you are welcome to contact personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.