There has been an alarming trend in the rate of unnecessary complications during routine laparoscopic gallbladder surgery. Laparoscopic cholecystectomy (removal of the gallbladder) has many significant advantages over an “open” procedure where a larger incision is made in the abdomen.
During laparoscopic surgery, several instruments are inserted into the stomach through very small incisions, and the abdomen is then inflated with gas to provide the surgeon with a clear view of the internal organs. Scalpels, cautery devices, staplers, suction tools, and all other typical surgical instruments are inserted through these small openings, and the surgeon can see inside the stomach with a video camera. If done properly, there is much less trauma to the patient, faster recovery, and the lack of an unsightly scar.
Mark Melrose and the legal team at Melrose Law have handled many cases where the surgeon has caused unintended, unexpected, and unnecessary injury to other organs during the surgery including the hepatic duct, common bile duct, and bowel. This is typically the result of the performance of the surgery on patients who are not appropriate candidates to have their gallbladder removed laparoscopically, or the result of carelessness and poor technique.
A preventable injury often occurs when the surgeon fails to positively identify the cystic duct and common bile duct. If the surgeon accidentally cuts the common bile duct or hepatic duct (instead of the cystic duct which must be cut to remove the gallbladder) there can be devastating complications for the patient including bile leak, peritonitis, sepsis, liver damage and death.
Another problem can occur if the surgeon is not careful when inserting the camera and other instruments through trocars which can result in a perforation of the bowel. A bowel perforation can cause life threatening infection and sepsis in just a few hours.
Many studies have demonstrated that the odds of these preventable injuries occurring is directly related to the experience and skill of the surgeon. Experienced surgeons have very few complications while those who are poorly trained or only perform this surgery occasionally have a much higher complication rate due to malpractice. In addition, if the surgeon accidentally cuts the common bile duct and tries to fix it himself instead of referring the patient to a specialist (hepatobiliary surgeon), the patient only has a 17% chance of a successful repair. In the hands of a specialist, the odds are 94% of a good repair according to a recent study at Johns Hopkins University.
In cases where the surgeon inadvertently cuts the common bile duct, or hurts the bowel, or fails to notice injuries to other internal organs, the case should be thoroughly investigated by an experienced medical malpractice attorney. Often the subsequent problems from a poorly performed gallbladder surgery can result in hundreds of thousands of dollars in unnecessary medical expenses, loss of income, and permanent injury.
At Melrose Law, our 30+ years of experience enable us to understand and serve your needs. If you have experienced misdiagnosis, abuse, or negligence at the hands of a medical professional, you may have a case for medical malpractice. Contact our medical malpractice attorneys in North Carolina for a free consultation today.
Our offices in Waynesville and Asheville North Carolina cover gallbladder injuries and other medical malpractice law throughout western North Carolina including Franklin, Murphy, Bryson City, Asheville, Cullowhee, Cashiers, Highlands, Hayesville and Hendersonville.