(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.)
During the course of plaintiff’s surgery on June 16th, Dr. Smith placed surgical clamps in the area of the bifurcation of the abdominal aorta. As the vascular surgeon it was Dr. Smith’s obligation and duty to place these clamps in a manner which did not cause injury to plaintiff. If Dr. Smith caused injury to either the aorta at its abdominal bifurcation or the left common iliac vein via the placement of the surgical clamps, his conduct fell below the stand ird of care and was a substantial factor in causing plaintiff a separate injury. Dr. Smith has presented no evidence that his placement of the clamps did not cause injury.
However, even assuming Dr. Smith did not cause the injuries, he had an obligation and duty to inspect the area of the bifurcation of the abdominal aorta during the initial surgery to discover and immediately repair any and all additional sources of injury or bleeding. Dr. Smith’s failure to discover and repair one of both of these injuries was below the standard of care and was a substantial factor in causing plaintiff’s injury.
Although he seeks to blame Dr. Green, Dr. Smith was below that standard of care by not finding the bowel injury. Even his own expert admits this was a joint responsibility
On June 24th, plaintiff was believed to have suffered a gastrointestinal bleed. On that 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 ir 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 abdominal aorta and/or 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 second series of injuries. Dr. Lee has presented no evidence rising to a medical probability that his placement of the line did not cause injury.
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 bifurcatior and the anterior wall of the left common iliac vein. Dr. Lee admits that he did not discover the source of plaintiff’s bleed on the 24th. As evident by the events on June 28th, Dr. Lee fa led 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. (See Part 8 of 8.)
For more information you are welcome to contact personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.