Defense verdict for Attorney Frederick Sewards

Plaintiff’s decedent was a middle-aged female suffering acute and chronic cholecystitis and moderate to severe aortic insufficiency – an abnormality which decreases the effectiveness of the heart in perfusing tissues and organs.  The patient underwent a planned laparoscopic gallbladder surgery which was converted to an open procedure when the patient developed a small tear in the gallbladder.  The procedure was completed and the patient was admitted to the hospital for planned several days of recovery.  Although the patient appeared to do well initially, the patient suddenly deteriorated on postoperative day 3 and would not respond to resuscitative and supportive measures.  A CT scan suggested a possible perforation of the colon (which had been adhered to the gallbladder at the time of surgical removal).

The patient was transferred to a larger hospital where emergency surgery found tiny perforations of the colon and duodenum which were surgically addressed.

Unfortunately, the patient continued to deteriorate and ultimately expired.  The expert witness for the Plaintiff, a general surgeon from New York City, testified that while the surgery was properly performed, the general surgeon Defendant failed to timely identify signs or symptoms of an intraabdominal catastrophe.  Defense expert witnesses in general surgery, surgical critical care and infectious diseases demonstrated that there were no signs or symptoms of an intraabdominal problem until the patient’s condition changed suddenly.  Thereafter, the Defendant general surgeon acted appropriately and timely in responding thereto.

The five-day trial resulted in a unanimous verdict in favor of the Defendant general surgeon.

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