Rod Dillman Secures Four Consecutive Medical Malpractice Defense Verdicts

November 26, 2019

Between October 2, 2019 and November 25th, 2019, Rod Dillman and our Virginia Beach, VA team secured four medical malpractice defense verdicts within the state of Virginia. Congratulations, Rod, as this is no easy feat! Rod’s trial wins can be found below.

Wrongful death from alleged failure of general surgeon to recognize post-operative complication following paraesophageal hernia repair surgery

Attorneys: Rodney S. Dillman & Julie C. Mayer

October 2, 2019

City of Lynchburg Circuit Court

This lawsuit was brought by the estate of a a 77-year-old woman who had severe complaints of abdominal pain and reflux.  Defendant physician consulted on the patient, and recommended paraesophageal hernia repair surgery.  The patient’s hernia had resulted in approximately 90% of her stomach having herniated into her chest. 

Following the paraesophageal hernia repair surgery, the patient developed a distended abdomen and ultimately a leak.  She began a downhill course, was admitted to the intensive care unit of the hospital, and ultimately passed away seven days later. 

Plaintiff alleges that the Defendant physician failed to recognize extreme gastric dilation as shown on post-operative abdominal imaging studies.  Furthermore, the Defendant physician failed to decompress the stomach, by means of a  nasogastric tube or other mechanical decompression.  As a result of this failure, the patient suffered a gastric perforation that led to gastric and small bowel necrosis, and additional surgeries that resulted in the patient’s death.  Had an NG tube been placed, the patient would have recovered and survived. 

The Defendant proved that gastric dilation is a common post-operative finding.  While visible on the x-ray, it was not an emergent finding.  The Defendant physician appropriately made the patient n.p.o., encouraged continued ambulation, and ordered simethicone (a medication to get rid of gas).  It was reasonable to expect that the distension would resolve.  Unfortunately, the patient suffered a perforation that required multiple surgeries to repair.  Despite reasonable care, the patient’s death could not have been avoided.

After a multi-day trial and deliberation by a jury for less than one hour, the jury returned a verdict in favor of all the defendants.

Plaintiff alleged defendant dermatologist and defendant registered nurse negligently failed to advise Plaintiff of all of the risks and potential complications of an elective cosmetic laser procedure, resulting in scarring, disfigurement and nerve damage

Attorneys: Rodney S. Dillman & Jennifer L. Stevens

October 23, 2019

City of Virginia Beach

Plaintiff alleged that Defendants negligently failed to advise her of all of the risks and potential complications of a cosmetic laser procedure.  Plaintiff claimed that Defendants disregarded contraindications to the procedure, and that as a result, Plaintiff suffered permanent scarring, disfigurement, and nerve damage.  Plaintiff’s claims were supported by a retained expert witness who specializes in the procedure at issue (Fraxel), a local neurologist, and a burn specialist at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Defendants proved that Plaintiff’s informed consent was obtained.  Defendants also proved that the non-ablative laser used in her treatment, which Plaintiff requested lower settings, did not (and could not) cause her permanent nerve damage. 

After 7 days of trial and 59 minutes of deliberations, a jury in Virginia Beach Circuit Court returned a verdict in favor of Defendant Dermatologist, Defendant Registered Nurse and Defendant Dermatologist’s Corporation.  Plaintiff sought $2,250,000.00 in her Complaint. 

Ureter injury following total abdominal hysterectomy, including permanent pain and incontinence issues

October 31, 2019

Attorneys: Rodney S. Dillman & Julie C. Mayer

City of Chesapeake Circuit Court

This lawsuit was brought by the Plaintiff following a total abdominal hysterectomy that was performed in 2013.  Plaintiff had consulted the defendants with complaints of heavy menses, and it was discovered that the Plaintiff had 3 large uterine fibroids.  The decision was made to move forward with a total abdominal hysterectomy.

The total abdominal hysterectomy was performed.  There were no complications noted, other than some bleeding.  A urologist was not consulted, nor were additional tests done to ensure the patency of the ureters.  The patient was discharged home and complained of back pain.  After her 2-week post-operative visit, a CT scan was ordered.  The CT scan revealed that the right ureter had been completely obliterated during the hysterectomy procedure.

A urologist was consulted and was unable to pass a stent and placed a nephrostomy tube to relieve pressure on the kidney.  Several weeks later, the Plaintiff underwent a ureteral reimplantation procedure, whereby her bladder was re-positioned to allow the injured ureter to connect without tension.  Following the repair, the Plaintiff alleged to have continual pain due to the reflux of urine from the ureter into her kidneys, nearly constant incontinence and overactive bladder symptoms.  The Plaintiff intermittently completed physical therapy and recently prior to trial began medications to address her incontinence issues with varying success.

Plaintiff alleges that the Defendants failed to protect the ureter during the hysterectomy.  Further, the Plaintiff alleges that the Defendants failed to take the steps necessary to ensure the safety of the ureters when they could not be visualized during surgery, including by dissection of the ureters, cystoscopy or consultation with a urologist.  Had the injury been avoided or detected intraoperatively, the repair procedure would have been unnecessary, and the Plaintiff would not suffer from any ongoing pain or incontinence. 

The Defendants proved that the surgical technique employed complied with the standard of care, and the injury to the ureter was both unavoidable and the standard of care did not require it to be detected intraoperatively.  Furthermore, the defense experts proved that the Plaintiff’s complaints of pain and incontinence were a progression of her baseline symptoms and were not related to the ureter injury or subsequent repair.

After a four-day trial and deliberation by a jury for approximately 2 hours, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the defendants.

Plaintiff amputates hand during woodworking accident; alleges surgeon was not competent to perform replantation surgery and untimely transfer caused permanent prosthetic hand

Attorneys: Rodney S. Dillman & Julie C. Mayer

November 22, 2019

Norfolk Circuit Court

The case involved a devastating injury in which the plaintiff/patient accidentally sawed off his left hand with a miter saw while doing woodwork.  Following the amputation, both the patient and his severed hand were taken by ambulance to a Norfolk area hospital. The defendant, the on-call plastic and reconstructive surgeon, was summoned to the hospital to examine the patient and prepare a treatment plan.  Upon presenting to the hospital and learning for the first time that the amputation was transcarpal (at the hand) as opposed to transradial (at the wrist, which is what the defendant had been told by the emergency department), the defendant began making phone calls to seek out a necessary second surgeon to come in to assist him in the replantation procedure. But regrettably for both the defendant and the patient, none of the three surgeons was available to come in and assist.

The defendant made the recommendation that the patient be transferred from the area hospital a Richmond area hospital.  A replantation team performed the 16.5-hour replantation of the left hand.  But 3 days following, it became apparent that the surgery would not be successful due to confirmation of necrosis and cell death.  The patient’s replanted hand had to be amputated.

Following a five-day trial, a jury in Norfolk Circuit Court returned a defense verdict in favor of the surgeon.

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