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Defense Verdict in D.C. for Frederick Sewards

Frederick Sewards participated in the defense of an anesthesiologist in a medical malpractice wrongful death lawsuit that went to trial in the Superior Court of Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, February 13, 2018.  The case involved allegations that the Defendant anesthesiologist negligently performed anesthesia services during hip surgery.  During the procedure or thereafter in the intensive care unit, the patient aspirated gastric contents into his airway and lungs resulting in extensive medical treatment and hospitalization.  The Plaintiffs argued that this anesthesiology complication caused the patient to reside in a nursing home and required repeated hospitalizations until the time of his death several years later.

The Defendants presented highly qualified expert witnesses in anesthesiology and critical care medicine to demonstrate that the Defendant anesthesiologist utilized appropriate clinical judgment in the performance of anesthesiology services and that the patient suffered a known risk and complication.

The eight member jury returned a unanimous verdict in favor of the Defendant anesthesiologist on Friday, February 23, 2018 concluding that the anesthesiologist had complied with the standard of care.

Super Lawyers & Rising Stars Announced!

Congratulations to 2018 Ohio Super Lawyers: Brant Poling, Michael Romanello, Frederick Sewards, Patrick Smith, Patrick Adkinson, and Christopher Johnson.

Congratulations to 2018 Ohio Super Lawyer Rising Stars: Sabrina Sellers and Amanda Sims.

Defense Verdict for Attorney Frederick A. Sewards

Plaintiff’s decedent was a 47-year-old male suffering from super morbid obesity and an umbilical hernia requiring surgical repair.  The patient underwent a planned laparoscopic hernia repair by Defendant surgeon which proceeded without incident in a Columbus, Ohio hospital.

The patient then presented for a 14-day postoperative office visit with the surgeon.  He had developed a seroma which was drained by the surgeon and clinically determined to not be infected.  The specimen was discarded.  The patient complained of some fevers and chills at home, but had a temperature of 99 degrees.  The patient was instructed to follow up in two more weeks.

The following day the patient presented to his primary care physician with worsening of symptoms including shortness of breath and cough/nausea.  The primary care physician did a complete exam.  The surgical site and abdomen appeared benign.  The patient was thought to have developing postoperative pneumonia and was prescribed antibiotics.

Several hours later, the patient presented to a small town hospital in respiratory distress.  Abdominal exam continued to be benign.  The patient was held for five hours before being transferred back to the Columbus hospital where the original surgery took place.  Upon presentation at the Columbus hospital, the patient had abdominal distention, redness of the abdomen and an angry red and oozing surgical wound.  The patient was taken immediately to exploratory laparotomy by the Defendant surgeon who diagnosed the patient with necrotizing fasciitis.  The patient underwent careful debridement of all necrotic tissue and was placed in the ICU under the care of the ICU team and surgery.

Despite surgical intervention and multi-specialty physician management, the patient deteriorated, suffered cardiac arrest and ultimately expired and whether the actions or omissions of the surgeon caused the patient’s death.

The patient was 47 years old at the time of death and left a wife and two 3-year-old twin daughters.

The case was tried on the issue of whether or not the postoperative visit was properly managed by the surgeon within the standard of care.

Plaintiff’s expert surgical witness from Grand Junction, Colorado testified that, due to the patient’s super morbid obesity, the patient was at risk for severe deterioration and complications as the result of surgery and should have been more thoroughly evaluated including laboratory tests to check for infection.

The defense presented a general surgical witness from Central Ohio, a bariatric surgical witness from the University of Hawaii, an infectious disease expert witness from University Hospitals of Cleveland and expert witnesses in cardiology and forensic pathology to address life expectancy which was determined to be extremely limited due to the patient’s super morbid obesity.

After an 8-day trial, the jury returned a unanimous verdict in favor of the defendant general surgeon.