Monday, November 06, 2006

GallBladder Surgery Errors & Malpractice

Below is an actual gallbladder case, has a gallbladder surgery like the below happened to you or somone you know?
If so, then contact our law offices to see what medical malpractice legal options we can advise you on. There are standards of care and you do have medical rights. Our law office will inform you of your legal rights on your surgery errors
Surgery is done to remove the gallbladder if it is inflamed, blocked, filled with gallstones, or cancerous.
Risks to Gallbladder Surgery
Risks for any anesthesia include the following: Reactions to medications Problems breathing
Risks for any surgery include the following: Bleeding Infection Additional risks include damage to the bile ducts and blood vessels.

The Gallbladder Surgery Problem Case:
Kathleen Freshwater went in the hospital to have her gallbladder removed, but she came out with more trouble than she could have imagined. In the autumn of 1993, Kathleen, 70, was suffering from chronic abdominal pain. General surgeon Dr. Robert Scheidt examined Kathleen and determined that she would benefit from having her gallbladder removed.
Dr. Scheidt decided to remove the gallbladder by laparoscopic cholecystectomy, a procedure referred to as a "blind" or "closed" technique because the patient isn’t actually opened. The operation involves entry through the umbilicus and a tiny camera that allows the doctor to find the gallbladder and remove it. Before the operation, Dr. Scheidt explained things to Kathleen. She was no stranger to the operating room, having undergone more than five previous surgeries, including an appendectomy and an ovarian cyst removal. Dr. Scheidt was aware of her medical history, and that she’d once had surgery for a "twisted bowel." He performed the laparoscopic cholecystectomy and the gallbladder was removed, but not without difficulties. After her surgery, Kathleen’s body swelled, and she had severe abdominal pain. At a different hospital Kathleen underwent another surgery to repair a perforation to her small bowel – caused during Dr. Scheidt’s operation.
Kathleen became seriously ill, and nearly died. She spent seventy-seven days in the hospital, much of it in intensive care. And she incurred some hefty medical bills. Several months after leaving the hospital, Kathleen and her husband filed a legal complaint against Dr. Scheidt. They alleged, among other things, that Dr. Scheidt was negligent in the performance of the operation itself. The closed laparoscopic procedure was a fairly new technique in 1993. Testimony at the trial indicated that there were other methods that could be used in removing a gallbladder.
Kathleen’s lawyer intended to demonstrate that Dr. Scheidt had been negligent in performing the surgery, and was aware of the procedure’s associated risks. Expert testimony at the trial indicated that adhesions – which can develop as a result of prior surgeries – can cause organs to stick together, making a "closed" procedure difficult and dangerous. Dr. Scheidt was aware of Kathleen’s numerous prior surgeries. Her attorney tried to establish that Dr. Scheidt knew there could be adhesions from those surgeries, and that he fell below the standard of acceptable medical care by not opting for a safer method to remove her gallbladder. But the jury returned with a verdict in favor of Dr. Scheidt, and Kathleen lost her case.
There is no telling for sure what may have swayed the jury, but during cross-examination, Kathleen’s attorney wanted to use information in a medical text to discredit the testimony of both Dr. Scheidt and an expert witness testifying on his behalf. However, the judge wouldn’t allow the use of the medical text in questioning. It was this issue of the restriction by the trial court on the use of the medical literature during cross-examination that Kathleen and her attorneys raised with the court of appeals. But the court of appeals affirmed the trial court. When the case was appealed to us – the Ohio Supreme Court – we voted to take it in because it raised an issue that we felt needed to be clarified. In affirming the trial court’s judgment, the court of appeals used the standard set by an Ohio Supreme Court case from 1994 called Stinson v. England. That case – which set the conditions under which medical papers can be used to challenge the credibility of expert witnesses – had elements that were similar to Kathleen’s case. In Stinson, the trial court allowed an expert to be cross-examined about a medical paper after the expert made it clear he didn’t consider the paper to be authoritative.
That produced a situation where the attorney was able to discredit the expert’s testimony using a text that the expert had already discredited himself. We decided that allowing such questioning created an impermissible presentation of hearsay evidence to the jury. With the Stinson decision, we tried to prevent a recurrence of that situation by saying that in the future, before medical literature can be used to discredit expert witnesses, the experts need to first acknowledge the "authoritative" nature of the text, or admit that they have "relied" on the text in forming their opinion. Sometimes though, best intentions can have unintended consequences.
When Kathleen’s attorney tried to use medical literature during cross-examination, Dr. Scheidt and the other expert greeted the questioning with an obstinate refusal to admit that the text was "authoritative." During the questioning, they danced around that word – "authoritative" – like revelers dancing around the May Pole, coming close but never quite touching it. It was a parsing of the language that would have made a particular chief executive proud. For example, at one point when the expert was asked to comment on the "authority" of the author of the medical text, he responded, "I’m not sure the word ‘authority’ is one I’d use. He’s a respected colleague, and I often will quote him. I think he’s a very honorable and honest individual with very good experience." Without the expert’s admission that the text was "authoritative," the judge, sticking to the Stinson decision, wouldn’t allow the use of the text in cross-examination. But this was not the outcome we envisioned with our decision in Stinson. By a six-to-one vote, we reversed the court of appeals. As Justice Andrew Douglas wrote in the majority opinion, "Stinson was not intended to allow testifying experts to adroitly evade cross-examination simply by avoiding such words as ‘rely’ and ‘authority’ or any forms of those words."
The point in all of this is to discover if malpractice has occurred. To do that, we look for tools to assist in the search for the truth. And expert witnesses should be there to help that search, not to slide out of things by using a few magic words. This doesn’t mean Kathleen Freshwater has won, but she will have a new trial. And this time, the experts will be playing under different rules.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The case referred to is: Freshwater v. Scheidt (1999), 86 Ohio St.3d 260. Case No. 97-1502. Decided September 1, 1999. Majority opinion written by Justice Andrew Douglas.
Above text written BY JUSTICE PAUL E. PEIFER on a government web site at

Possible signs of gallbladder cancer include jaundice, pain, and fever.
These and other symptoms may be caused by gallbladder cancer or by other conditions. A doctor should be consulted if any of the following problems occur:
Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes).Pain above the stomach.Fever.Nausea and vomiting.Bloating.Lumps in the abdomen. Gallbladder cancer is difficult to detect (find) and diagnose early.
Gallbladder cancer is difficult to detect and diagnose for the following reasons:
There aren't any noticeable signs or symptoms in the early stages of gallbladder cancer. The symptoms of gallbladder cancer, when present, are like the symptoms of many other illnesses. The gallbladder is hidden behind the liver.Gallbladder cancer is sometimes found when the gallbladder is removed for other reasons.
Read more on Gallbladder surgery & malpractice posibilities

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