Laparoscopic cholecystectomy (gallbladder removal) became popular in the late 1980s, and quickly became one of the most common surgical procedures in America. More than 750,000 “lap chole” procedures are performed every year. Unfortunately, the complication rate for laparoscopic cholecystectomy remains higher than the complication rate for open cholecystectomy.
The most common complications related to medical malpractice include bile duct injuries, excessive bleeding, bowel perforation, and burns to the hepatic ducts. Below are descriptions of some of the most common types of malpractice we have seen in our legal work.
Doctors are trained to visualize a patient’s anatomy during a surgery, and to never cut if they’re not sure what they’re cutting. Yet, many surgeons, in a rush to complete the operation, make assumptions about a patient’s anatomy and simply start cutting. For example, many times the surgeon accidently cuts the common hepatic duct instead of the cystic duct. As another example, sometimes the surgeon accidently plays surgical clips on the common bile duct, causing a stricture.
These injuries are usually avoidable, and are typically caused because the surgeon cut without being able to see what she/he was cutting. Surgeons are trained to remove all tissue except for the cystic duct and artery, so they can see the liver bed and then carefully identify all structures between the gallbladder and liver. These safety procedures are so important that doctors are supposed to document them when they perform them.
There are methods for discovering complications during the procedure, such as a use of a cholangiogram. Between 2% and 15% of lap chole procedures are “converted” to an open procedure, most commonly because of acute cholecystitis, when bile becomes trapped in the gallbladder. If these complications are identified correctly, then a recovery procedure can begin, like an ERCP (endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatogram) under anesthesia with stents. Yet, doctors often ignore the signs of a problem and complete the surgery. When that happens, the patient can develop severe complications from the untreated injury including infection, cholangitis, sepsis, and death.
Our client, a forty-six-year-old married male, sustained a major bile duct injury during a laparoscopic gallbladder removal procedure at a hospital in Los Alamitos, Calif. This matter settled at mediation for $295,000.00.
Our client, a thirty-five-year-old single female, sustained a major bile duct injury during a laparoscopic gallbladder removal procedure at the Kaiser Hospital in Downey, Calif. This matter settled at mediation for $250,000.00.
Our client, a twenty-six-year-old single female, experienced a transected common bile duct during a laparoscopic gallbladder removal procedure at the Kaiser Hospital in Baldwin Park, Calif. This matter settled within sixty (60) of the filing the Demand for Arbitration for $225.000.00.
If you were a victim of medical error, our team at Karlin & Karlin, APLC is here to protect your interests, call our Main Office: 213-348-7281 or Toll free: 888-473-8898. We have been protecting the rights of personal injury and medical malpractice victims for over 40 years and we know how to get results. Our experience trial attorneys know how to recognize the signs of medical malpractice and can help you prove the fault of the medical professional(s) responsible for your injuries. With millions recovered for previous clients, you can feel confident knowing that our medical malpractice lawyers will be standing by your side, seeking the full amount of compensation that is owed to you.
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