May 17, 2012
Strong & Hanni attorneys Michael J. Miller and Suzette H. Goucher recently secured a defense verdict for their physician client against a plaintiff who was seeking recovery for damages from complications that resulted from a gallbladder surgery.
Plaintiff alleged the defendant surgeon negligently clipped and injured plaintiff’s bile duct system during a gallbladder surgery. Plaintiff’s expert testified at trial that defendant breached the standard of care by failing to appropriately identify the biliary anatomy before clipping and cutting structures under the circumstances in this case. Plaintiff claimed the defendant inadvertently placed a clip on one of the biliary ducts, which caused a stricture and resultant complications including sepsis and numerous procedures to fix the stricture.
At trial, the defense expert testified that defendant carefully removed the gallbladder and did not harm any surrounding structures during the surgery. The biliary stricture that occurred, almost a year after the gallbladder surgery, was caused by the necessary dissection to remove the gallbladder with resultant scar tissue development. The defense expert did not believe the clip seen on subsequent radiographic images was misplaced nor was it the direct cause of injury to the biliary duct.
Approximately one hour after the jury was released to deliberate, a verdict was reached. The jury found the physician did not breach the standard of care. The jury was polled and the verdict was unanimous.