For a complete set of resources, please visit our Laparoscopic Surgery and Gallbladder website.
Laparoscopic Gallbladder Surgery, also known as Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy, is a surgical procedure in which the gallbladder is removed through a small incision, using tiny equipment guided by a camera. The procedure, invented in 1989, reduces recovery time and scarring associated with gallbladder removal.
Unfortunately, improperly performed laparoscopic surgeries can occur, with terrible consequences for the patient. In many of these instances, a surgeon may mistakenly cut or nick the bile duct, allowing bile to seep into the abdominal cavity and poison the patient. This is often due to the inexperience of the surgeon or his or her inability to properly identify the very small, thin ducts that need to be ligated. Injuries suffered during this surgery may be the result of some form of medical malpractice.
Trief & Olk has extensive experience representing clients whose surgeons have cut the wrong duct or committed other errors during laparoscopic gallbladder removal, resulting in a severed connection between the liver and the intestines. Here are some examples of laparoscopic gallbladder surgery medical malpractice claims litigated by Trief & Olk:
- Trief & Olk represented a retired man in a rural court who suffered damage to his common bile duct and common hepatic duct when a surgeon continued to dissect his anatomy, despite the surgeon’s inability to identify the anatomy that he was cutting. Defendant argued that the condition of the plaintiff pre-surgery, including his obesity and scar tissue within his abdomen, was the reason why the gallbladder surgery was unsuccessful and that the doctor did everything correctly, despite the difficult situation he faced. Trief & Olk, however, argued that the surgeon’s own records and pre-trial testimony demonstrated that the surgeon was not experienced enough to handle the surgery and should have transferred the patient to a more experienced surgeon and better equipped facility once he encountered difficulty, rather than blindly cutting the plaintiff. Trief & Olk were able to obtain a settlement for the client for a confidential sum before trial.
- Trief & Olk represented a woman who suffered from septic shock and infections after her common bile duct was transected during a laparoscopic cholecystectomy. Even though the operative report showed no complications during the surgery and initial emergency room records downplayed the seriousness of the plaintiff’s post-operative condition, Trief & Olk were able to secure a settlement of multiple millions of dollars on behalf of the injured plaintiff.
- Trief & Olk represented a woman who underwent laparoscopic gallbladder removal resulting in a transected common bile duct and a nicked left hepatic duct. The procedure was performed by a hospital resident without informing the plaintiff. To make matters worse, when repairing the severed common bile duct and left hepatic duct, the physicians performed inappropriate procedures, essentially guaranteeing that the patient would suffer additional medical complications. Other elements of follow-up care were also inadequate. Trief & Olk were successfully able to secure a seven-figure settlement during trial for the plaintiff.
- A teenager underwent laparoscopic gallbladder surgery in Syracuse, New York, during which the inexperienced surgeon had difficulty identifying the various ducts. As a result, the surgeon severed the patient’s common bile duct. The common bile duct was re-connected once the error was identified, however the patient suffered dilation of the duct requiring it to be surgically re-opened. The teenage client will have to undergo regular screenings and may need future surgery if the duct dilates again. Just prior to trial, Trief & Olk were able to secure the client a settlement of over a half-million dollars.
- Trief & Olk represented a teacher in a medical malpractice lawsuit against a surgeon who negligently transected her common hepatic duct during gallbladder removal surgery. The client required bowel reconstruction surgery and was in the hospital for approximately one week. Trief & Olk successfully obtained a settlement for her of over a half-million dollars.
- Trief & Olk represented a woman who suffered from permanent abdominal pain after undergoing a laparoscopic cholecystectomy. The surgery was complicated by scar tissue that had formed due to prior Caesarean section delivery of the plaintiff’s two children, the most recent of which was mere weeks before the laparoscopic cholecystectomy. During the surgery, the doctor was unable to completely remove the gallbladder and failed to close the remainder of the gallbladder left within the plaintiff, allowing bile to leak freely into the plaintiff’s abdomen. Despite the fact that there was no loss wages claim (due to the plaintiff’s role as a stay-at-home mother), Trief & Olk were able to secure a settlement of just below a half-million dollars.
- Trief & Olk represented a woman who required a Roux-en-Y hepatico-jejunostomy and multiple procedures to address strictures, after her common bile duct was incorrectly identified as her cystic duct and cut during a laparoscopic cholecystectomy. Trief & Olk contended that the attending surgeon committed malpractice while supervising the procedure, which was actually performed by a resident. The surgeons encountered inflammation and adhesions during the procedure that made identifying the anatomy difficult. The resident, acting under the direction and supervision of the attending surgeon, began to clip and cut as a means to better visualize the anatomy. Trief & Olk argued that no clipping or cutting should have been done until after the defendants meticulously identified the anatomy. If they had done so, the wrong duct would not have been clipped or cut. Alternatively, if the anatomy could not be identified visually, the laparoscopic procedure should have been switched to an open procedure or an intraoperative cholangiogram should have been performed to aid in identifying the anatomy. Trief & Olk were able to settle the plaintiff’s action for a high six-figure sum in advance of trial.
If you or someone you know has suffered injuries following a laparoscopic procedure, we may be able to achieve compensation for the injured party. Please contact our medical malpractice lawyers to discuss your case.
Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.