(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.)
There is a Triable Issue of Fact as To Whether Dr. Lee’s Negligence Was a Substantial Factor in Causing Plaintiff’s Injuries.
On June 24th Plaintiff was found to have suffered a massive bleed in his abdomen. Earlier in the day, Dr. Lee placed an arterial and femoral line in plaintiff’s groin to measure his blood pressure and rapidly infuse blood. The line is placed using a guide wire which is inserted in the groin and up the iliac vein approximately 15-20 centimeters into the area of the bifurcation of the aorta. A hard rigid catheter is placed on top of the guide wire which, if erroneously placed, can cause injury to the aorta. Assuming during the placement of these line, Dr. Lee lacerated the posterior wall of the abdomen aorta and the adjacent area of the left common iliac vein, it would be a breach of the standard of care and a substantial factor in causing plaintiff’s injuries. Dr. Lee has presented no conclusive evidence confirming that his placement of the line did not cause injury.
Dr. White’s declaration fails to adequately address the manner or method by which Dr. Lee placed the lines. Dr. White simply states that had Dr. Lee caused these injuries, plaintiff’s condition would have rapidly deteriorated, thus, Dr, Lee could not have caused the injuries. What Dr. White ignores is the fact that following the surgery on the 24th, Plaintiffs condition did deteriorate, he almost died. The injuries sustained by Plaintiff do not occur in the absence of someone’s negligence and there is a question of fact as to whether or not it was Dr. Lee’s negligent placement of the lines caused the injuries.
However, even assuming Dr. Lee did not cause the injuries, as the vascular surgeon taking part in the laparotomy on the 24th, Dr. Lee was responsible for determining the source of the hemorrhage, including ruling out injury to the abdominal aortic bifurcation and the anterior wall of the left common iliac vein.
Dr. Lee admits that he did not discover the source of plaintiffs bleed on the 24th. As evidenced by the events on June 28th, Dr. Lee failed to adequately inspect, discover and repair all sources of the bleed. Dr. Lee’s failure to discover and repair the injury was below the standard of care and was a substantial factor in causing plaintiff’s injury.
As evidenced by the declaration of Dr. Chin, his expert testimony establishes the causal connection between Dr. Lee’s conduct and plaintiffs injuries. At a minimum, Dr. Chin’s declaration creates a triable issue of fact as to whether or not Dr. Lee’s conduct fell below the standard of care and was a substantial factor in causing plaintiff’s injuries, and as such, creates triable issues of fact in reference to negligence and causation. (See Part 10 of 11.)
For more information you are welcome to contact personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.