Defense Verdict for a Pennsylvania Health System and Urologist.
We received a defense verdict on no causation in a binding arbitration of a matter venued in Montour County, Pennsylvania, involving a bowel leak following urologic cancer surgery. We represented a Pennsylvania health system and its chief of urology who performed major cancer surgery upon the plaintiff (cystoprostatectomy and creation of ileal conduit). The plaintiff was discharged once his bowel function was returning and he was tolerating a normal diet, despite a slightly elevated temperature and white blood cell count (neither of which had the residents informed the attending physician about). Over the next two days, the plaintiff’s wife made multiple calls to the on-call residents, who did not feel readmission was warranted. Ultimately, he was readmitted, underwent a second surgery and then suffered more complications, likely due in part to poor blood supply to the bowel from years of heavy smoking. The defense team, through motions, secured the dismissal of corporate negligence and future medical expense claims and, through internet research, found that the plaintiff’s expert had previously been precluded from testifying by a court in Ohio for “making up facts.” Challenges in the case included that the attending surgeon readily admitted that the patient should have been readmitted sooner. However, he maintained that the outcome would have been no different. The arbitrator found his testimony credible and found no negligence on his part.