Recently, a botched gastric bypass surgery performed at Memorial Hospital Jacksonville resulted in a $178 million jury verdict. In this case, a young police officer had elected to undergo gastric bypass surgery in a bid to not only lose weight, but with high hopes of gaining a healthier and longer life. The officer was considered a rising star in his department and, other than suffering from morbid obesity, was able to perform his duties. No one could have predicted the nightmarish change in lifestyle for the law enforcement officer and his family. The officer underwent what he thought would be routine laparoscopic surgery at Memorial Hospital, and ended staying up as a patient for over two months.
Right after surgery, it was apparent that it was not a success and it was immediately clear that the officer was suffering from several complications such as bowel fluids entering the abdomen. Yet, despite the severe symptoms exhibited after surgery including respiratory failure and being placed into critical care, the treating physician waited eight days before returning his patient to the operating room to address the problems. The delay in the second surgery exacerbated the symptoms and weakened the patient as time went on. The officer suffered a stroke and was in a coma for several weeks. During that time, the medical staff failed to administer eye drops, further resulting in burned retinas and permanent eyesight damage. Additionally, the officer suffered brain damage resulting in severe neurological difficulties and is now wheelchair bound. He requires constant around the clock care.
The jury heard from several expert witnesses who testified that Memorial Hospital failed to meet the required medical standard of care. Testimony and evidence was also presented at trial that the doctor in charge of the officer’s care was not very experienced and was not even properly accredited to perform bariatric surgery even though the hospital was aware of these deficiencies. Very damaging was the expert witness who testified that the treating doctor waited much too long to take the patient back into surgery once the complications became apparent. Memorial Hospital was found to have fraudulently advertised that the hospital and its doctors were accredited with the American Society Bariatric Surgery’s Center of Excellence seal, when that was clearly not the case. The jury was convinced that Memorial Hospital committed medical negligence and fraud in advertising and awarded the officer and his family $178 million in damages. The hospital indicated afterwards that it intended to appeal the verdict.
Surgical medical malpractice remains a serious and constant problem in Chicago area hospitals, throughout Illinois, and across the country. When doctors fail to take the proper care, misrepresent their level of expertise, or otherwise perform negligently, permanent injuries such as these will continue to occur. If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of a surgical error, contact the experienced legal team at Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC. Since 1990, our caring and knowledgeable attorneys have collected millions of dollars on behalf of our clients. There is no obligation or charge to discuss your case with us. So call now at (312) 644-0444 to see how we can be of help.