In April 2015, jurors in a Chicago federal courtroom hearing a medical malpractice case returned a verdict for the plaintiff for $9.4 million.
The jurors concluded that the surgeons improperly performed bariatric surgery on the 52-year-old Michigan City woman, leaving her with serious brain damage.
This award is in addition to the $5 million out-of-court settlement from Downers Grove, Ill. Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital, where the botched bariatric surgery took place.
Attorneys representing plaintiff Kathryn Parker claim in 2010, she sought out medical assistance from Drs. Allen Mikhail and Jeffrey Rosen because she was suffering from obesity.
The plaintiff was allowed to undergo gastric bypass surgery to help her lose weight and regain her health.
Her attorneys allege the doctors knew Ms. Parker suffered a condition requiring medication to thin her blood but used the wrong drugs before her surgery.
The side effect of taking the wrong blood-thinning drug could not be easily reversed. This became a significant issue when internal bleeding began unexpectedly.
Life Weigh Bariatrics
Ms. Parker’s initial consultation with her doctors seeking obesity treatment occurred in their Merrillville office.
Mikhail and Rosen are part of LifeWeigh Bariatrics (Downers Grove) and perform bariatric surgeries at Advocate Good Samaritan.
In preparation for her surgery, her doctors prescribed the wrong anti-coagulation drug, which then caused a significant loss of blood circulation to the brain and internal bleeding.
The lawsuit alleges that the anti-coagulation medication caused excessive bleeding in Ms. Parker’s digestive tract. In addition, the suit claims reparative procedures to remove blood clots only temporarily improved her condition.
After weeks in the hospital, the plaintiff developed various medical conditions, including acute kidney dysfunction and abnormally high potassium (kalemia) levels in her bloodstream.
Because of the hyperkalemia, Kathryn went into cardiac arrest. A subsequent medical error occurred when it took 12 minutes for the hospital personnel to shock her heart after it had been arrested.
The plaintiff lacked oxygen during that event, causing significant brain damage and extensive leg weakness.
The lawsuit filed on behalf of Ms. Parker alleges her doctors and the Downers Grove Hospital were responsible for medical errors that occurred during and after her surgery.
The lawyers allege that medical malpractice caused Kathryn to suffer numerous medical issues by indicating she can no longer provide her own care or care to her four children, whom she had homeschooled before her surgery.
Loss of Cognitive Skills after Bariatric Surgery
Now confined to a wheelchair, Kathryn has lost many cognitive skills and the ability to walk. After over 20 years of marriage, the plaintiff indicates that she blames the medical mistake as the root cause of her divorce.
She now receives assistance from her three sisters and nurses’ aides for her daily physical, hygiene, and medical needs.
The two-week trial was presented by Ms. Parker’s attorney in the United States District Court in Chicago. The federal jurors took only three hours of deliberation before reaching their verdict.
Less than four years after her botched surgery, Kathryn’s medical expenses totaled $1.5 million.
Fortunately, the plaintiff was able to file the case in Illinois to avoid the medical malpractice caps award in her home state of Indiana, which would have limited her damages to $1.25 million.
This shortfall could have financially devastated her in covering her healthcare needs.
Surgical Errors During Gastric Bypass Procedures: A Common Problem
Unfortunately, medical mistakes involving gastric bypass surgeries are nothing new. Many medical errors and complications cause various health problems to obese patients hoping to lose weight.
These health problems include hernias, postoperative infection, excessive bleeding, and death.
Other complications include doctors failing to diagnose leakage or perforation of the bowel connection promptly after anastomosis. Other common issues involve polyneuropathy, where the patient feels burning pain, tingling, and numbness in the extremities.
Sepsis (bloodstream infection) and peritonitis (abdomen inflammation) can also produce life-threatening conditions when left untreated.
Doctors and staff are duty-bound to provide the best medical care before, during, and after surgeries. They are obligated to monitor every patient’s postoperative recovery and take their complaints seriously.
The brain-damaging outcome of Ms. Parker’s treatment indicates that some doctors need to do more to ensure the safety of their patients.
Contact a Chicago medical malpractice attorney from Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers to discuss legal questions for a bariatric surgery lawsuit.