Surgeon Sued Over an Adrenalectomy Marred by Renal Failure

The death of an elderly patient prompted a malpractice suit against the hospital that had recommended performing an adrenalectomy to remedy his adrenal disease. After complaining of abdominal pain, a computer imaging scan of his abdomen revealed a renal adrenal mass. Though he underwent a planned adrenalectomy, the surgery was complicated by bleeding from his right renal vein and a tear in his inferior venal cava that resulted in major blood loss. The patient’s right kidney was removed, and he was rushed back into the operating room when it became apparent that his abdomen was under an unusual amount of pressure. After profuse bleeding, the patient passed away in the operating room.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. How often do you treat patients who present adrenal masses like the one in this case?
  • 2. Have you ever lectured or published on this topic, specifically on the protocol of treating patients during this procedure?

Expert Witness Response E-024785

Adrenal disease is rare, as are such catastrophic complications. Often, I evaluate many patients who do not require operation, and typically review no more than twenty cases a year. Thus far, all of my published work in the field of endocrine surgery relates to thyroid and parathyroid disease.


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