After a three-day trial, Rich Nagle and Tracie Dorfman obtained a defense verdict.
On May 16, 2014, the defendant general surgeon performed a robotic-assisted laparoscopic repair of the plaintiff’s umbilical hernia. The surgery was without apparent complication. Five days later, the plaintiff presented to the emergency department with severe pain, nausea and vomiting. A CT scan revealed free air and fluid. The defendant diagnosed the plaintiff with an ileus and admitted her for observation. The plaintiff initially felt better and was discharged. However, she returned to the emergency department the next day with worsening symptoms. The defendant’s partner took the plaintiff to emergency surgery and found a bowel perforation.
The parties agreed that the perforation was a known complication of surgery and occurred in the absence of negligence. Plaintiff’s claim against the defendant was that the defendant failed to timely diagnose the bowel injury when the plaintiff returned to the hospital. Plaintiff’s expert argued that the CT scan findings of air and fluid were presumptive evidence of an injury. The defendant argued that her working diagnosis of ileus was reasonable and that the bowel perforation did not declare itself until the plaintiff returned to the emergency department a second time.
Rich Nagle and Tracie Dorfman tried this case in Loudoun County Circuit Court on June 13 – 15, 2016. After two hours of deliberations, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the defendant.