General Surgeon Fails to Repair Perforated Colon


General Surgery Expert WitnessThis case takes place in New York and involves a male patient who presented to the ER with severe abdominal pain, bloating, and fatigue. An X-ray revealed free air in his abdomen suspicious for perforation of the colon or a ruptured ulcer. Despite these worrying findings, the patient received no further care or evaluation for hours. Eventually, A CT scan was performed, which confirmed a perforated colon. Again, the patient’s treatment was delayed, with several hours elapsing before he was brought into the operating room. The patient had become septic in that time and ultimately passed away a few days after the operation.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Do you treat patients similar to the one described in the case? Please explain.
  • 2. Have you ever had a patient develop the outcome described in the case? If so, please explain.
  • 3. Do you devote more than 50% of your professional time in clinical practice?
  • 4. Are you able to review the records on behalf of the plaintiff and opine on, potentially testify to, your findings?
  • 5. Have you ever served as an expert witness and testified on a case similar to the one described above?

Expert Witness Response E-001161

As a board certified general surgeon, I regularly perform surgery on perforated diverticulitis. Unfortunately, some patients can present very late in their course, and they are potentially already septic. However, in this case, waiting 9 hours for a condition that is known to require urgent or emergent surgery seems excessive, and suggests a lack of understanding regarding standard of care. Over 70% of my time is clinical practice, and I have served as an expert witness in the past.

Expert Witness Response E-001188

I have experience with plenty of perforated patients. Unfortunately, every surgeon has had a perforated patient who has expired post-operatively. The crux of this case would be the delay in intervention. With a thorough review of the medical records I would be able to opine on any deviations in the standard of care, and testify to those findings if need be. I have served as an expert witness in a case where the patient = developed a perforation postoperatively but not on a case where a patient had a preoperative perforation

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